By Barbara Galiza
(February 11, 2013) São Paulo – Brazilian Ricardo Mello played his last professional tennis match Monday afternoon at 32. The former No. 50 in the world had received a wildcard into ATP 250 São Paulo, but didn’t get through the first round. He fell in two sets, 6-4, 6-4 to lucky loser Martin Alund, from Argentina.
“Before the match, lots of moments from my career went through my head like a movie”, said Mello after the loss. “I always wanted to retire at this tournament, where I played practically every year. It’s great being at home because it means playing in front of your family and friends, people that didn’t get to follow your whole career because of the constant traveling.”
In his news conference, Mello also talked about the pressure of being part of the Brazilian generation that came up right after the Gustavo Kuerten era. Mello won only one ATP singles title versus Guga’s three Roland Garros crowns. His conquest came in 2004, when he beat the top three seeds (Mario Ancic, Mardy Fish and Vince Spadea) to win the Delray Beach trophy.
“It very hard dealing with the pressure. People expected, friends and family, for you to play in a level you can’t always reach.”
Mello also shared what he considered his toughest loss: a quarterfinal against the Slovakian Domink Hrabty in Los Angeles. He was up a set and 6/1 in the second set tiebreak, but couldn’t close out the match even with the five match points. Hrbaty went on to play Andre Agassi in the semis.
Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.