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post #18 of (permalink) Old 06-26-2008, 04:59 AM
country flag Kristen
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Age: 34
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Re: Jonas Bjorkman retires..
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - Swedish star Jonas Bjorkman will retire in October, ending a career in which he reached a No. 4 ranking and won nine Grand Slam doubles titles, including three straight at Wimbledon.

Bjorkman announced his decision just hours before play began Monday at Wimbledon, where he won doubles titles from 2002-04 and reached the singles semifinals — at age 34 — in 2006.

After trips to the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. Open in August, the Swede plans to bid farewell to tennis on home soil at the Stockholm Open.

"Wimbledon has a special place in my heart and I knew it was the right time to do it here," Bjorkman told The Associated Press. "I feel I'm at the stage where maybe I don't have a desire.

"Maybe I've lost the competitive edge a bit. When it comes to after matches it didn't hurt as much. ... It should be a hurting when you lose."

Bjorkman reached a career-high No. 4 in singles and No. 1 in doubles. He played his first Grand Slam tournament at the 1993 U.S. Open and twice reached the semifinals at majors: at the U.S. Open in 1997 and at Wimbledon in '06, when he took only four games from eventual champion Roger Federer.

"The semifinal two years ago is something I will always remember," he said as he walked through the All England Club. "I didn't really expect it at the age of 34, but I enjoyed it more because you're much more relaxed as you get older."

Bjorkman begins his 15th Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday in a singles match against Frenchman Arnaud Clement.

"I've been hitting the ball and had good preparation, but I have tough opposition in Clement," Bjorkman said.

He likes his chances better in doubles.

In the first round, he and Kevin Ullyett face Australians Paul Hanley and Todd Perry.

"Doubles is a potential," he said. "And I'll do everything I can to hopefully get another trophy."

After that, Bjorkman, who also played on Sweden's Davis Cup winning teams of 1994, '97 and '98, wants to spend more time with his children — Max, 5, and 5-month-old Bianca.

"It's time to be a full-time dad and spend time with the family," he said. "Half of my life has been a professional player so it's a good stage in my career to call it quits."
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