Belgium's Steve Darcis bowed out in the first round of the qualifying tournament at the Australian Open, losing 5-7, 5-7 to Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit, ranked No. 229 in the world in what was the final match of his career.
Darcis led the first set 5-3 and had two set points but was unable to convert the same. In the second set, he also had a break but was unable to hold on to the same. Darcis, who played on the professional circuit for 16 years, says he will continue to remain in tennis.
He will take on a coaching role from March.
Speaking to RTBF, Darcis says, "Stopping was inevitable, I knew it was going to happen, but I'm a bit disappointed that it happens like that in the first qualifying round of a grand slam tournament.
Une magnifique page de ma vie se tourne ...merci à tous pour votre soutien et merci aussi à ceux qui en me démolissant m ont rendu plus fort :) #shark #newstart #🦈♾🦖 #newlife #newadventure #DM #😢 pic.twitter.com/rwrOTIzaEo — steve darcis (@stevedarcishark) January 16, 2020
However, that is part of the game. I am returning home now and taking some rest. I am a bit sad because I didn't play so well because it's all over, but also because it had to end like this. Because I didn't play very well today."
Darcis says he would like to continue playing but is hampered by physical injuries. "Deep inside I still have a desire to play, but the problem is that I am in too much pain. At some point you have to do something else.
So I am not happy that I stop, because I still feel the desire. But my body doesn't want anymore and neither does my head. "