Rebel without a court as Rosset hangs up racket
2005-10-25 15:33:56 GMT (Reuters)
By Mark Ledsom
BASEL, Switzerland, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Former Olympic gold medallist Marc Rosset is putting an end to his turbulent tennis career after 17 years on the professional circuit.
The 35-year-old Genevan will retire following this week's Swiss Indoors tournament where he is playing doubles.
"I actually made the decision a few months ago," Rosset told Reuters on Tuesday.
"I was still playing (on the Challenger circuit) at the start of the year, but then I had a tough time with the death of a friend and a few other problems, so I decided I wouldn't play again.
"Some friends talked me into playing one more time in Basel and, although I'm not fond of people making a fuss over me, I thought 'why not?'"
Rosset won 15 singles and eight doubles titles in his career, reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 1996 and won the doubles there in 1992.
He played on the Swiss team that lost the 1992 Davis Cup final to the United States -- despite Rosset's impressive singles victory over then-world number one Jim Courier.
Four years later, Rosset made the final of the Hopman Cup -- partnered by Martina Hingis -- but had to retire when he injured his hand after hitting an advertising board in one of his frequent tantrums.
In 1998 he cheated death when the Swissair flight he was booked on crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing all on board. Rosset had decided to stay on and practice in New York after losing in the first round of the U.S. Open.
One of the tallest players on Tour at two metres, Rosset will be remembered for his 1992 Olympic gold medal win in Barcelona.
"But, for me, the highlight was reaching the top 10," insisted Rosset, whose ATP ranking peaked at world number nine.
"Barcelona was clearly a superb moment in my life, but being in the top 10 is the sort of thing you dream of when you're a kid."
Arguably his country's most talented male tennis player -- until the arrival of a certain Roger Federer -- Rosset was also a formidable character off the court, variously described by journalists as a rebel, a sulk and an outsider.
"I never considered myself a rebel but I was always shy -- and I think sometimes I tried to over-compensate and start saying things just to get reactions from people," Rosset said on Tuesday. "It wasn't really me, but then that was the image I had for the next 15 years."
Rosset, who has suffered from bouts of depression, said he is spending a lot of time on a Moroccan children's charity and is also planning to open a restaurant in Geneva with Ukrainian former world number four Andrei Medvedev.
Earlier this year Rosset was relieved of his captaincy of the Swiss Davis Cup team, Federer informing him by phone.
"When Roger called to tell me I was no longer captain, I told him what I felt and he apologised for doing it to me," said Rosset. "For sure I was disappointed, but it only amounts to about four or five weeks of the year, which is not what I'm looking for.
"I'm not sure I want to stay so directly involved in tennis, anyway. Maybe I could do something on the organisation side but I don't want to be dealing with players or coaches, or get back into the tennis lifestyle."
Rosset won 433 singles matches on Tour, earning nearly seven million dollars in the process.