Getting ready for the last waltz
After the sporting highs of 2012, which peaked with the London Olympics, there are some major stars who could head towards retirement. In cricket, Sachin Tendulkar edged closer to bidding adieu in all formats while Australia’s ‘Mr Cricket’ Mike Hussey will walk away from international cricket after the current series against Sri Lanka.
The new year could also see two, or three, of badminton’s stalwarts calling time on their great careers. Chinese flag-bearer Lin Dan retained the men’s singles title at the London Olympics, having shone in five Thomas Cup triumphs for China and having won the gold medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, will turn 30 in October. The masterful left-hander has already announced he will be cutting down on his commitments, a precursor to step aside as newer faces from the Chinese stable take over.
His great Malaysian rival, Lee Chong Wei, who suffered a heartbreak at London after falling to Lin Dan in the Olympics final, may also end his career. He is also reducing his appearances in top flight tournaments, a decision also influenced by the injury he suffered last year and which almost dashed his Olympic medal hopes.
Their Indonesian rival and the 2004 Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat has already slipped from the top. He had in fact announced that he would quit in 2012. Although that did not happen, he is also gradually easing himself out of top flight badminton.
The year will also see Manchester United greats Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, both still giving their much younger rivals a run for their money, hang up their boots. India's doubles star Mahesh Bhupathi has already announced that 2013 will be his final season on the ATP tour.