The 50-time Grand Slam champion Shingo Kunieda, one of the greatest wheelchair tennis players of all time, retired on Sunday saying that he had “done enough”.
The 38-year-old Japanese player spent a total of 582 weeks as world number one and won four Paralympic gold medals, including at the Covid-postponed Tokyo Paralympics in 2021.
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Kunieda was number one in the International Tennis Federation’s year-end ranking 10 times, the first in 2007 and as recently as last year.
“I’ve been thinking about the retirement since my dream came true at Tokyo Paralympics,” Kunieda, who was diagnosed with spinal cancer as a child, said in a statement posted online.
“Last year, Wimbledon singles title for the first time made me feel that my energy was little left to compete.”
“By capturing the 10th time world champion, I felt that I have done enough in what I wanted to accomplish and thought it was the right time to retire,” he added.
Tributes poured in from across tennis.
“A remarkable career,” the ITF tweeted.
“Thank you for inspiring us all,” the tennis federation said.
Kunieda will hold a press conference on February 7 to talk more about his retirement, he said.
“Truly extraordinary wheelchair tennis life for me,” he said.