LIMERICK tennis pro Conor Niland has announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect due to injury.
The tennis ace, who played in both Wimbledon and the US Open last year, has been plagued with persistent hip issues and had was forced into the decision, telling the Limerick Leader he “wasn’t able to compete at the top level” with the injuries as they were.
The Mungret man, who was ranked as high as 129 just over 18 months ago, said it was a “sad decision” to announce his retirement from professional tennis but said he “had to make a decision” with regard to his future, particularly after struggling with the injury during Ireland’s Davis Cup match against Egypt in Cairo last weekend.
“I have been suffering from labral tears in both hip cartilages and this has resulted in pain and restricted movement for the past nine months,” explained Niland, who had a top career in Davis Cup tennis, winning 17 of 29 matches in the competition.
“Despite several cortisone injections and intensive physiotherapy during this time the condition has progressively worsened and has prevented me from training and competing at the levels required for professional tennis. I have considered the possibility of hip surgery but have been advised of a lengthy recovery time without any guarantee of a successful outcome,” he added.
Niland, who turned 30 in September last year, memorably qualified for Wimbledon last year, bringing a dash of colour to the manicured lawns of SW19 with his riotous support cheering him on the first round against Adrian Mannarino. He narrowly lost that match after being in a commanding position, duly missing out on a match against Roger Federer in the second round as a result.
The Irish number one, who attended the University of California in Berkeley and started his career as a tennis pro in 2005, also qualified for the US Open last year, but was struck down with food poisoning while playing world number one and eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the first round.
Niland was always quick to acknowledge the support of his family throughout his career and he paid tribute to them today as he announced his decision to retire.
“I would like to thank my family, in particular my parents, for their phenomenal support throughout my tennis career. I would not have been able to achieve the things I did without them,” he said.