Tennis retirements in 2023 – who said goodbye this season?

The curtain has closed on the careers of several high-profile players in recent times, which has given rise to the topic of today – tennis retirements in 2023. Such is the cycle of professional athletes, while new superstars constantly come through, as seen with Carlos Alcaraz, Coco Gauff, and many others; true legends of the game must also retire at some point. 

As sad as this is, I feel it’s the perfect moment to recognize the achievements of those who have hung up their rackets in 2023. Of course, this prompted me to dedicate some time to discussing the most significant tennis retirements in 2023. 

Tennis retirements in 2023
Photo by Icon sport

Through the respective sections below, I will be showcasing who has retired, while also spending a moment or two to look at the individual highlights of each player. This way, you will gain a clear picture of the biggest names who have retired in 2023, while also being reminded of some of the special times on the tennis court that these players created.

Naturally, this will be a bit of a bittersweet discussion, but again – that’s just the way it goes in professional sports. So now, let’s get right into it and identify those players who will no longer dazzle us with their skills on the ATP/WTA Tour.

Major tennis retirements in 2023 – a quick overview

Of the many retirements that were announced in 2023, I’ve chosen to pay special attention to five players whom I’d consider to be the most ‘high profile’ retirements. However, it goes without saying that the five names I’ve focused on weren’t the only tennis retirements in 2023. 

There were many others – it’s just that I believe the five players I’ve picked deserved special recognition as they head off into the next stage of their lives. So on that note, let me provide you with a quick shortlist of the top 2023 tennis retirements that will be analysed within:

  • John Isner
  • Anett Kontaveit
  • Feliciano Lopez
  • Sam Stosur
  • Jeremy Chardy

There is a strong chance that you may have witnessed the retirement of these players during the 2023 season. After all, several of them declared their anticipated ‘final match’ ahead of time. This way, the respective tournaments were able to organise a ceremony and presentation and acknowledge them in other ways, too.

And now, given that you have my list of the top five tennis retirements in 2023, let’s work our way through the details of each player to pay tribute to their careers. All of this is outlined and discussed in the following sections.

John Isner – most emotional of all tennis retirements in 2023

In my personal opinion, this was by far the most emotional of all the 2023 tennis retirements. ‘Big John’, as many referred to him, had been a gentle giant on the ATP Tour for close to 20 years. Furthermore, when you break down his career statistics, it’s obvious that he had one of the most successful careers of all who retired in 2023.

Specifically, John Isner was the top ranked American for a number of years, with his greatest run being from 2012-2020. During these years, he finished the year as the top-ranked American in eight of the nine seasons, and for that entire decade (2010-2020), he finished the year ranked inside the top 20. This demonstrates incredible consistency, and those were definitely Isner’s golden years in the sport.

Additionally, Isner retired as the all-time ‘aces’ leader on the ATP Tour, with almost 14,500 in his career. Of course, his serve was a major factor in his success. This was also a huge factor in the role he played in the longest tennis match ever, played at Wimbledon in 2010. After 11 hours and 5 minutes, he managed to beat Nicolas Mahut by a score of 70-68 in the fifth set.

Ultimately, John Isner played his last ever game at the 2023 US Open, which was a fitting end to a truly fantastic career.

Anett Kontaveit – retires less than one year after being ranked 2 in the world

I must say, I did not see this retirement coming in 2023. However, I’m sure that Kontaveit did not anticipate a 2023 retirement either. Sadly, her retirement was announced during the summer of 2023, when she publicly declared that she had received a diagnosis of ‘lumbar disc degeneration’. 

This was obviously a bit of a shock for the tennis world, especially since Kontaveit was ranked number 2 in the world less than 12 months before that announcement. As a result, this makes Kontaveit the highest-ranked of all tennis retirements in 2023 in recent times, which makes the retirement news all the more significant.

2023 tennis retirements
Photo by Icon sport

Kontaveit finished her career at Wimbledon in July, just one month after she announced that she would be ending her career at the All England Club. She was just 27 years of age when she called it a day, which is rather premature for a professional tennis player these days. But of course, retirement was effectively forced upon her due to the diagnosis mentioned above.

Then again, Kontaveit retires with her head held high. She reached the highest ranking of any Estonian player in the history of the game, and she won six WTA titles in her career. 

Feliciano Lopez – Spaniard finally decided to call it a day after 25 years on tour

Feliciano Lopez, or ‘Feli Lopez’ as many called him, was a true legend of the game. The Spaniard was ranked as high as 12 in the world in his prime, and he played a ‘classic’ style of tennis, which was always fun to watch. With his serve and volley game, Lopez always found his best tennis on grass or quick hard courts. 

This is confirmed by the three quarter-finals he made at Wimbledon in his career, which complement his seven career titles nicely. However, the most remarkable element of Lopez’s career is his longevity. To be specific, when he joined the list of tennis retirements in 2023, he was 41 years of age!

And even more impressively, Lopez turned professional in 1997, showing a career that spanned more than 25 years. As for his highlights, without question, his singles and doubles titles at The Queen’s Club in 2017 are the standout victories. Furthermore, while Lopez has ended his playing career, he remains the tournament director for the Madrid Open.

Samantha Stosur – another high-profile Aussie hangs up her rackets

There must be something in the water over in Australia that makes their players retire on top of their game! In 2022, Ash Barty retired from the sport, just months after winning the Australian Open, while being ranked number 1 in the world at the same time. As for Sam Stosur, she has been a top 20 player for the last five seasons, consecutively. 

So while yes, she might not have been on the very top like Ash Barty, she was still a formidable player when she announced her scheduled retirement at the 2023 Australian Open. Then again, Stosur was at least at the expected age of retirement, if not beyond the expected age. Specifically, Sam Stosur retired at the Australian Open in 2023 at 38 years of age.

Tennis retirements 2023

She enjoyed a long and prosperous professional career, however, one that started in 1999 and ended close to 25 years later. And in this time, Stosur was ranked as high as world number 1 in doubles, not to mention that she was ranked as high as 4 in the world for singles. 

She’s also the only player from the tennis retirements in 2023 mentioned here who has won a Grand Slam for singles – achieved at the US Open in 2011. Additionally, Stosur won four Grand Slam doubles titles, as well as three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. 

Jeremy Chardy – Frenchman joins list of legends for tennis retirements in 2023

Last but not least, I had to include Jeremy Chardy as one of the stand-out 2023 tennis retirements. As a player who truly went for broke in his matches, his style of tennis was incredibly exciting, not to mention quite outstanding at times. His enormous forehand and top-level serve helped him reach a career-high ranking of 25 back in 2013, too, which is no mean feat.

Despite his dangerous game, however, Chardy managed to win just one ATP singles title in his career, although he competed in one of the toughest periods in the men’s game of all time. Yet, this doesn’t mean he didn’t have some worthy career highlights to mention. 

These involved winning the Davis Cup with France in 2017, reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2013, and making the final of the French Open men’s doubles with partner, Fabrice Martin.

Other noteworthy tennis retirements in 2023

Although I’ve picked my top five tennis retirements in 2023 and expanded on them throughout, I didn’t want to completely ignore some of the other big names that have called time on their careers. Because of that, I’d like to give a few honourable mentions right now for other players who have retired from the game in 2023:

  • Jack Sock
  • Sania Mirza
  • Thomaz Bellucci
  • Barbora Strycova
  • Pablo Andujar
  • Misaki Doi

Each of these individuals impacted the game in a big way during their careers, and they deserved mentioning to bring this run through to a close.

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