Wimbledon 2022: Skupski embraces retirement at end of SW19 campaign

For Ken Skupski, retirement is a moment to enjoy.

The Liverpudlian, who benefitted from the LTA’s NTC Access programme, providing cost-free access to courts on all three surfaces, coaching, trainers and the LTA’s tournament bonus scheme, announced prior to Wimbledon that it would be his final tournament, and his campaign with Jonny O’Mara ended with a 7-6 (6) 6-4 6-4 loss to Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz on Monday.

The third round defeat ended a career which saw the 39-year-old play in 41 Grand Slam tournaments and win seven ATP titles, as well as 48 Challenger Tour titles.

Skupski and O’Mara received a wildcard into the main draw at SW19 and picked up two straight-sets victories on their way to the third round, where their German opponents – who have twice won the French Open – just had a little bit too much for them.

“I wouldn’t have taken the wildcard if I didn’t feel like I knew I could do something. We’ve played very well so far up until this point,” he said.

“We started really strongly and took that momentum into the second match and dominated that as well. It was just a shame we couldn’t get over the line in that first set today as it may have given us a bit of a different outlook on how the match was going. We just fell a little bit short in the end.

“I feel OK actually. It’s fine, I’m old. I’m not really too emotional about it in a negative way. Now it’s about enjoying the moment, being here another 24 hours before going home and starting life post-tennis.

“The overall feeling is that I’m proud. The family have been here all week and it’s been a nice little journey to finish. The first and foremost thing is family.”

Fourteen of Skupski’s 41 Grand Slam appearances have come at the All England Club, where he reached the last eight alongside younger brother Neal in 2017.

And playing at Wimbledon on so many occasions allowed him to achieve one particular childhood dream.

He added: “Growing up I always wanted to play on Centre Court, and to get on that court is not easy – there’s a lot of tennis players at a very high level that don’t get to play on Centre Court.

“I’ve been lucky to play there, I’ve played on Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver. Those type of things, you can look back and think: ‘Wow, the biggest stages in world tennis and I got to play on them.’”

Skupski’s immediate plan is to take the summer off before travelling with Neal, who is looking to target the No.1 ranking in the next few months.

And Neal led tributes to his older brother, crediting him for his significant impact on his career.

He said: “When I was just starting off from leaving college, he was top 75 in the world and I was around 700th in the world, he came down to play futures, play challenger level.

“We had great success from that start. We progressed as brothers, we travelled the world together, learned together. It was an amazing experience for me and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for my career.

“He’s had a great career and he’s gone out having a great Wimbledon.”

Neal’s own Men’s Doubles campaign also came to an end as he and Wesley Koolhof lost in five sets to Australian duo Matt Ebden and Max Purcell.

However, he is still in mixed doubles action with he and America’s Desirae Krawczyk looking to defend the title that they won 12 months ago.

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website

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