Jürgen Melzer has traveled a lot through Austria this year. He visited training centers and tennis clubs, talked to talents, coaches and officials. You can hear that he has taken his job very seriously as the new sporting director of the Austrian Tennis Association (ÖTV), which he has been since February 2021. He personally discovered that his active exchange was well received by the story of a young up-and-coming player. The boy wrote a text at school – about Jürgen Melzer from Vienna.
“When the guy showed me the article, I was totally moved,” Melzer said now. “I never expected anything like this. It shows the respect that has been earned over the years – that there is something children can write about.” Not only. Tennis players also have reason to honor him. This time he is really serious about resigning. Several times Melzer had already thought that his career was over. But then there was another match and another somewhere.
And on Wednesday evening, the 40-year-old Melzer made his last appearance on the ATP tour, it was announced. In doubles, he lost alongside Alexander Zverev at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna 6-7, 5-7 against Philip Polasek (Slovakia) and John Pearce (Australia). A special Austrian tennis player says goodbye to active work. In singles he has not been in the rankings for a long time, but in doubles he is currently still in the 36th place.
Left-handed Melzer wasn’t quite as successful as former world number one Thomas Muster, with whom he was always compared – because he was right behind him in time. And of course he couldn’t get close to Dominic Thiem, the 2020 Grand Slam winner in singles at the US Open. Nevertheless, Melzer’s record is impressive: the French Open semi-finals (2010), the last 16 of the other Grand Slams, the eighth seed in the world (2011). He won the championship in his hometown of Vienna twice. In doubles, he won two Grand Slam titles, at Wimbledon in 2010 and in New York in 2011, both times with Bayreuth Phillip Beechner.
As Melcer looked back on Wednesday, he also remembered his impressive five-set win over Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros 2010, after trailing 2-0. But basically he said, “I remember fewer wins or defeats than I remember from the people I’ve spent time with on the Tour.” And: “I’ve always tried to be a good ambassador for the sport.” He knew he could have made more of himself. He understood too late that “tennis is a full-time job”. Yes, it was lively, as evidenced by some of the still-circulating footage on the internet.
In tennis, Melzer, now father, will remain the protagonist, as designer and advisor, in the roles of athletic director and coach; He takes care of the best Austrian players, Barbara Haas. He would like to pass on his tennis experience, his talents are especially important to him. His message: “Boys should realize early on that everything has to go under tennis.” Because he is sure: “The sooner you understand it, the sooner you will be good.”
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