© ATP

Eric Butorac walks off the court for the last time, accompanied by his family.

Butorac Bids Farewell At US Open

American plays final pro doubles match

With family and friends surrounding Court 9 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Eric Butorac bade farewell to the doubles circuit. The affable former ATP Player Council president played his last professional match alongside good friend Scott Lipsky, falling to Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-4 at the US Open on Thursday.

"Scott's a really good friend, so it's fun to play with someone I've been close with my whole career," said former doubles World No. 17 Butorac, who is also in the mixed doubles draw with Timea Babos. "And the two guys on the other side of the net were probably the two I've spent most of my time with. I spent a few years with both Raven and Rajeev. I know them as well as anyone. It's weird, but fitting to go out to them. We didn't have much of a chance in the match, so there was a little less emotion. But to end here and finish my playing career at a place where I'll now have an office, is fitting in that way too."

Butorac was recently named the USTA's Director of Professional Tennis Operations and Player Relations. Ironically, Butorac's best result in Flushing Meadows came in reaching the 2014 quarter-finals with Klaasen, falling to Lipsky and Ram. The 35-year-old father of two is an 18-time doubles champion on the ATP World Tour. He won at least one title in each of the past 10 seasons, including five with Jean-Julien Rojer and three with Klaasen, Lipsky and Jamie Murray. He most recently lifted the trophy at the Millennium Estoril Open with Lipsky in April, his third title at the ATP World Tour 250 event.

You May Also Like: The Biofile: Eric Butorac

"I never expected to have a career like this," added Butorac, whose best Grand Slam result came in the 2014 Australian Open, finishing runner-up alongside Klaasen. "I moved to France to play money tournaments, then stumbled into Futures and Challengers and later moved my way up. It was a surprise to be out there doing it. To look back and say I did it for 13 years is a strange feeling, but also quite rewarding. I feel accomplished, I worked really hard and got to see the world and meet great people. It was a great experience.

"Off the court, being a part of the Player Council was something really special for me. It was something I stumbled into and someone nominated me for it. I took it very seriously, spending eight years on the council and doing two as president. That was something I'm very proud of. As much as anything I achieved on the court, for the good of the sport I was able to do a lot more off it."

Klaasen and Ram progress to face Chris Guccione and Andre Sa in the second round. The South African-American duo is looking to build on a No. 7 position in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, as they bid to secure a spot among the final eight teams at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi, currently No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, suffered a setback in their London qualification bid, falling to Nicolas Almagro and Victor Estrella Burgos 6-4, 6-4. Huey/Mirnyi’s loss represented an opportunity for Henri Kontinen and John Peers, currently eighth in the race, to make up precious ground. The Finnish-Australian duo won their opening match 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 against Federico Delbonis and Guido Pella. They came into New York only 445 points behind Huey/Mirnyi and 340 points behind Klaasen/Ram and will next face Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who won 6-3, 6-4 over Carlos Berlocq and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

In other action, Daniel Nestor was forced to retire from his opener with Vasek Pospisil, due to a left calf strain. The Canadian duo conceded the match to American teens Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul after just four games.

More stories like this in: