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Bjorkman bids final farewell in Shanghai

sports Updated: Nov 14, 2008 16:40 IST
Nick Mulvenney
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Jonas Bjorkman brought the curtain down on his 17-year career in professional tennis after bowing out of the Masters Cup doubles on Friday.

The 36-year-old Swede, who won nine grand slam doubles titles and was once ranked number four in the world in singles, had announced at Wimbledon earlier this year that he would retire at the end of the season.

"It's great to end my career in the biggest event of the year, even if I would have liked to have gone further. But you can't have everything," he told reporters after he and Zimbabwean partner Kevin Ullyett were beaten 6-2 1-6 10-6 by Poles Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.

"I've been mentally prepared for this because I'm mentally very ready to retire. I've been very fortunate to be able to play for so long. It started as my hobby, and I've been able to do it for 17 years, which is great."

Bjorkman, a Wimbledon singles semi-finalist just two years ago, won a total of $14,567,823 in prize money over his career and three Davis Cups with his country in 1994, 1997, and 1998.

"I would probably say winning the Davis Cup was something that was huge to be part of," said the popular Swede, who won six career singles and 54 doubles titles. "I was very proud to be representing my country."

Defeat in the last four of the US Open singles in 1997 was his biggest regret, he said.

"Obviously losing to Greg Rusedski in the semi-final was a tough loss because I think that was a chance for me maybe to go all the way."

Bjorkman, who is going to dedicate his time to editing a Swedish tennis magazine, said he would miss the locker room banter but not the constant travel of the tour.

"I think the umpires are not going to miss me," he said. "I've been quite tough on those guys."

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