2012 Tennis: 7 Players Who Said Goodbye
While 2012 was remarkable in terms of the performances by the top players on both the ATP and WTA Tour, the fans also witnessed few high-profile players who left the Tour.
The Tour has become a very high-pressure environment where players have to be on the top not only in their physical aspects, but also in mental strength.
It is therefore no wonder that retirement ages are reducing and players who were expected to play forever are retiring because of recurring injuries.
Let us then look at the top players who said goodbye in 2012.
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Gisela Dulko played 11 years on the WTA Tour before retiring in 2012.
Reaching a high of 26 in 2005, Dulko was more successful in doubles, winning the 2011 Australian Open with Flavia Pennetta.
Dulko was No. 1 doubles player in 2010, highlighting her potential as a good doubles specialist.
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Arnaud Clement played well in singles (peaking at No. 10 in 2001) as well as doubles (No. 8 in 2008).
Except for the French Open, Clement reached the quarterfinals at all majors. The best performance was achieved at 2001 Australian Open when he reached the finals.
Clement also won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2007 and the Davis Cup for France in 2001.
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Rainer Schuettler of Germany reached a best ranking in singles of No. 5 in 2004
Schuettler was a good doubles player, reaching a peak of 40 in the rankings. He reached the Australian Open final in 2003 and semifinal at Wimbledon in 2008.
With Nicolas Kiefer, Schuettler won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.
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Fernando Gonzalez reached his best singles ranking, No. 5, in 2007.
Gonzalez won three medals at the Olympics: bronze (2004) and silver in singles (2008) as well as gold in doubles (2004 with Nicolas Massu).
Gonzalez also reached the quarterfinal stage at every major while peaking at the 2007 Australian Open as a finalist.
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Ivan Ljubicic reached a high of No. 3 in 2006 in his singles career.
Ljubicic reached the semifinal at 2006 French Open, which remained his best performance in Grand Slam tournaments.
The Croat also won a Olympic (bronze) medal at 2004 Games with Mario Ancic.
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Who does not know Kim Clijsters? A world No. 1 in singles and doubles, Clijsters retired this year for the second time.
Four Grand Slam titles (US Open, in 2005, 2009, and 2010 and 2011 Australian Open) as well as runner-up in four other tournaments, she has achieved almost everything.
Clijsters also won the French Open and Wimbledon doubles titles in 2003.
After retiring in 2007, she returned to the Tour two years later to notch up several wins over top players.
As a mother, she won Grand Slam titles that only Evonne Goolagong had done in 1980!
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Andy Roddick was the sixth American to be ranked No. 1 (2003)
He was consistent in his performances during the years from 2002 to 2010, finishing in the Top 10 every time.
Roddick surprisingly won only one Grand Slam (2003 US Open).
Other achievements included four semifinals at the Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), three finals at Wimbledon (2004, 2005, 2009) and another final at the US Open (2006).
He was part of the American Davis Cup team that won the title in 2007.