Radek Stepanek announces retirement: 'I don't want to risk my health'

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Radek Stepanek announces retirement: 'I don't want to risk my health'

Radek Stepanek announced his retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday at a press conference. The back injury which had forced him to undergo surgery earlier in 2017 has been the reason for his retirement.

Stepanek played only two events in 2017, the Doha and Australian Opens. 'It's over. I don't want to risk my health,' the 38-year-old said. 'I loved my life as tennis player from beginning to end.

I was afraid of this decision for my whole life. But I took this choice with my heart.' His doctor Pavel Kolar explained he talked with Stepanek thinking about him as a person and not player. 'By playing tennis professionally Radek's back injury could get worse again.

He would need another surgery. Quality of his life would be in danger,' Kolar said. Stepanek also commented on rumours about him taking up coaching next. 'Tennis is my life and it will remain so.

I need some time to rest now. We shall see where the next few weeks would take me.' In doubles, Stepanek won 18 titles including 2012 Australian Open and 2013 US Open and was ranked as high as fourth in the world.

In singles, he reached the quarter-finals of the 2006 Wimbledon, won five ATP titles. He also won two Davis Cup titles in 2012 and 2013. Partnering Lucie Hradecka, he also won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games. ALSO READ: Roger Federer: 'I get Nadal's point, but it's not the time to play on clay' .