AT 18 YEARS of age, Mario Ancic informed the tennis world of his presence by beating Roger Federer in the first round of the 2002 Wimbledon Championships. It would be six years before Federer lost again at SW19.
Earlier today, the Croatian affectionately known as “Super Mario” announced his retirement from tennis at the age of just 26, finally admitting defeat to the injuries and illness which prevented him from fully living up to his early promise. Ancic was diagnosed with mononucleosis in 2007 and has also suffered from a series of back and knee complaints.
Over the course of a nine-year professional career, Ancic won three singles titles and was ranked at number seven in the world at one point in 2006. Speaking in his hometown of Split earlier today, he acknowledged that he could no longer compete at the highest level.
It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make. I’m only 26, but my body said I would not be able to continue on a high level.
I was advised to either undergo surgery or go through a conservative method, but I had no guarantee with either option.
Ancic signalled his intention to pursue a career in law now that he has hung up his tennis shoes. In 2008, he graduated from the University of Split with a law degree having written a thesis on the legal workings of the ATP.
Over the course of his career, Ancic’s on-court passion got him in to trouble on more than one occasion.
After winning his second round tie at the 2006 French Open, the Croation was involved in a shoving match with his opponent, Chile’s Paul Capdeville. Capdeville had taken issue with a number of the umpire’s line calls throughout the game. With the game now won, the six-foot-five Ancic let his opponent know how he felt about those who concentrated on moaning rather than tennis.