Giraldo Announces Retirement From Professional Tennis
The Colombian rose to a career-high No. 28 in the FedEx ATP Rankings
Santiago Giraldo announced his retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday. In a Bogota press conference, attended by his coach, Felipe Berón, and with emotional messages from his peers and compatriots Alejandro Falla and Daniel Elahi Galan, the Pereira native said that he would dedicate his time to personal projects. But that he would not rule out being a coach or even a Davis Cup captain in the future.
“I started at 15, and now at almost 33,” said Giraldo. “I’ve decided to say thank you and put a full stop at the end of this journey. I did the best I could, and I gave everything I have. I remember that curious, unique, explorative and rebellious boy who left his home at just 12 years of age, carrying only his racquets and his dreams, until he arrived here today. I don’t regret anything I did.”
Giraldo reached a career-high No. 28 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in September 2014. In addition, he won 168 tour-level matches, playing in two ATP Tour singles finals – losing to Tommy Robredo at 2011 Vina del Mar and to Kei Nishikori at the 2014 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. His biggest career wins came against then No. 8-ranked Andy Murray at the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open and No. 10-ranked Marin Cilic at Geneva in 2015.
Giraldo did not compete between September 2017 and March 2018, when he considered permanently retiring. “It’s just as well I didn’t,” says Giraldo. “It would have been abrupt, and I needed a calm transition. I wanted to retire like this, as Colombia’s No. 2 player, playing well, being competitive. This decision gives me peace of mind because it was considered and prudent, and I’m very grateful for having learned so much from tennis.”
Upon his return to competitive tennis after his six-month break, the 6’2” right-hander had fallen to No. 414 in the world. The highest he reached after that drop was No. 202 in April 2019, thanks to a second-round finish in Houston (l. to Thompson) having come through qualifying. The American clay-court event proved to be his last on the ATP Tour.
“I would like to thank tennis for giving me the most amazing life and building my journey,” said Giraldo, who never left the Top 100 between 1 February 2010 and 1 May 2016. “But I’m 32 years old and I’m still very young. I hope to be able to keep doing many things.”
The Colombian isn’t ruling anything out in the future.
“I hope that in many years I’ll be able to be a Davis Cup captain, obviously when Alejo [Falla, the current captain] has had enough, because he is excellent. I’d love to be able to contribute to the team,” said Giraldo, who recorded the most singles rubber victories (27) and played the most Davis Cup ties for Colombia.
“Some players have also written to me asking me to work with them [as coach],” added Giraldo, a winner of 10 ATP Challenger Tour titles (the last coming at Fairfield in 2016). “That option would also be a pleasure. But I’d like that to be later, because what I want is to slow things down as it’s been non-stop.”