ROSS Hutchins has announced his retirement from professional tennis.
The 29 year old – a specialist doubles player – said the time was right to concentrate on the next stage of his career.
“It is with a heavy heart that today I announce my retirement from professional tennis,” Hutchins said.
“After much deliberation I feel it is the right time for me to stop playing professional sport and pursue new goals as I enter the next phase of my career.
“I feel strong and healthy and I look forward to moving onto the next chapter of my life.”
That is a particularly relevant statement from Hutchins given he tackled and beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012.
The illness saw him withdraw from the Tour in order to receive treatment, returning to the court in remission at the start of 2014.
A close friend of British No 1 Andy Murray, Hutchins offered thanks to all who have supported him.
“I have been incredibly fortunate in my tennis career and I am proud of what I have been able to achieve, a lot of which would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of those close to me,” he said.
“Tennis has enabled me to do something which I love every day, to travel the world and along the way form some incredible friendships.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has played a role in my career to date and for all the support and encouragement that they have given me, especially my family, my fiancée Lindsay, my friends and my doubles partner Colin Fleming, who I have thoroughly enjoyed playing beside and who has stuck by me through good and tough times.
“I would also like to thank the LTA, ITF and ATP who have looked after me all the years that I have been on Tour.”
Hutchins retires with five Tour titles to his name, the last of which came with Fleming at Eastbourne in 2012.
A seasoned Davis Cup player too, Hutchins has been lauded by Great Britain captain Leon Smith.
“On behalf of everybody within British tennis, we send our huge congratulations to Ross as he brings the curtain down on his tennis career.
“Ross has been a stalwart of our sport for over a decade, having won five ATP doubles tournaments and competed in seven Davis Cup ties.
“He has been an incredible role model in every way possible, from the way he trained to the way he looked after himself in order to reach his potential.
“We were very lucky to have him play a huge part in our Davis Cup team over the last six years, and his contribution to help us fight our way back to the World Group was invaluable.
“Even in the face of adversity following his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ross’s amazing dedication and spirit helped to not only raise a staggering amount of money for charity, but also propel him back to professional tennis which itself was an unbelievable achievement.
“It goes without saying that we wish him all the very best for life beyond the court. No doubt there are very exciting times ahead.”
Andy Murray has been given a wild card entry to the China Open.
Britain’s No 1 – currently in the unfamiliar position of being ranked outside the world’s top ten – will join the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and newly-crowned US Open winner Marin Cilic in Beijing from 27 September onwards.
Murray has not played in the event since 2010 and will be keen to accrue the points he needs to qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“I’m excited to announce that I will play in the China Open,” the Scot said.
“I have some great memories of playing tennis in China over the years, I love the country and there are plenty of passionate fans here who enjoy their tennis, so I’m looking forward to competing.”