Two-Time Tour-Level Finalist Falla Retires
This month has been a contrast of sorts for Colombian tennis.
While Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah reached their first Grand Slam final as a team by defeating Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(1), 7-5 at the Australian Open, their countryman, Alejandro Falla, announced his retirement after 18 years as a professional.
"So many emotions are going through my head right now," the 34-year-old said during a press conference in Bogota. "From memories of the sacrifices I made when I was a kid, to the immense happiness I get because I fulfilled dreams that seemed impossible to achieve, I'm proud to have followed this path, one of discipline. But now the time has come to move on to the next stage of my life."
Falla, who turned professional in 2000, ends his ATP World Tour career with a tour-level record of 114-169. The left-hander reached two ATP World Tour finals — at 2013 Bogota (l. to Karlovic) and 2014 Halle (l. to Federer). He played in 34 Grand Slam championship main draws, advancing to the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2011, the third round at Wimbledon in 2012 and the third round of the Australian Open in both 2010 and 2012. Falla also claimed 11 ATP Challenger Tour titles and reached a career high of No. 48 in the ATP Rankings in July 2012.
Falla also proved his level against some of the best players on the ATP World Tour, earning four Top 10 victories throughout his career. The lefty holds wins over Nikolay Davydenko (No. 6), Mardy Fish (No. 8), Tommy Haas (No. 9) and John Isner (No. 10). Falla gave Roger Federer a serious scare in June 2010 at Wimbledon, when the Colombian came within a game of upsetting the defending champion at 7-5, 6-4, 5-4 before succumbing to the Swiss in five sets.
Falla's compatriot, Cabal, praised his countryman for his accomplishments and for what he did for tennis in Colombia.
"After Mauricio Hadad (No. 78 in 1995) and Miguel Tobon (No. 205 in 1996) there was a gap [in Colombian tennis]," Cabal said. "Falla emerged first, and set a great example for the rest of us. [Santiago] Giraldo, [Alejandro] Gonzalez, the bunch of us, we all pushed through with hard work and patience."