British No.7 Jamie Baker announced his retirement from professional tennis at the age of 26 at a press conference at the All England Club on Saturday morning.
Baker reached a career-high ranking of No.186 in June last year but has since slipped to No.333. He failed to qualify for this year’s Gentlemen’s Singles main draw and played his final match in the Gentlemen’s Doubles with Kyle Edmund, losing in straight sets in the first round to David Marrero and Andreas Seppi.
The Scot has come to the decision after losing his love for the day-to-day life on the tennis tour, admitting that he is considering working in the financial sector.
“I think over the last six to 12 months the day-to-day enjoyment of the tennis lifestyle has really weakened, but also at the same time my interest in pursuing the skills I’ve developed within tennis in another career has really strengthened,” said Baker.
“Tennis has given me an amazing education and life. Because I have developed so many skills, that’s probably one of the main reasons I feel this is the right time to go on to something new.
“I’ve always known it’s pretty straightforward to start a career that is a passion, and I’ve equally always known that the difficult thing is knowing when to move on. For me, ending on a high note – having qualified in Australia and at Queen’s – I feel I’ve now reached a place where I’m satisfied I’ve done that.”
Baker has battled injury and illness throughout his career and spent three days in intensive care in 2008 after contracting the life-threatening blood disease idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
He made five first-round appearances in the Gentlemen’s Singles at Wimbledon and ran Andy Roddick close last year, taking the American to three sets.
Asked about his career highlight was, Baker said: “Probably between qualifying for the Australian Open twice and playing against Roddick here on No.1 Court with a full crowd. Against a former world No.1 and the way I played, I think that’s something I’ll remember forever.”
Baker now has a best man speech to write for his brother’s wedding next week and is already enjoying the treats that a sportsman can finally enjoy post-career.
“I am already eating horribly” he said. “It’s funny, I walked into the supermarket the other day and for the first time in my life I didn’t shut off sections of shelves.”
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