Skip to main content

David Nalbandian retires from tennis

updated 7:21 AM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
David Nalbandian will play a final exhibition match against Rafael Nadal on November 23
David Nalbandian will play a final exhibition match against Rafael Nadal on November 23
  • David Nalbandian has announced his retirement from tennis
  • The 31-year-old cited his failure to overcome a shoulder problem as reason
  • Argentine Reached a career high of No.3 in the world in March 2006
  • Won 11 singles titles and reached final of Wimbledon in 2002

(CNN) -- David Nalbandian has announced his retirement from tennis after failing to overcome a troublesome shoulder injury.

The 31-year-old, who reached the semifinal of every grand slam and finished as runner up to Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2002, reached a career high of No.3 in the world back in March 2006.

"It's a sad day but the shoulder is not responding well," he told a press conference in Buenos Aires Tuesday.

"As a result I can no longer compete at ATP level."

Nalbandian, currently ranked 231 in the world, has been blighted by injuries in recent years and has failed to repeat the exploits of his younger years.

Tennis pro booted for hurting judge
Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion
America's rising tennis star

The last of his 11 singles titles came in Washington three years ago.

Nalbandian became the first ever Argentine to reach the Wimbledon final and first from South American to do so since 1959.

In 2005, he became the first Argentine to win the year-end championship since Guillermo Vilas triumphed in 1974.

But it was his determination to help his country win the Davis Cup which endeared him to his fans.

He boasted a 39-11 record and helped Argentina finish as runner up in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

"It's the event that I felt was different from the others," he said of the Davis Cup.

"The pressure, the support of the people. It's something unique. It's a shame [Argentina] couldn't win it, but it's the way it was."

Nalbandian has been hampered with injuries since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2009.

He underwent further surgery on his hip and shoulder in May after suffering injury interrupted seasons for the past three years.

A fiery and determined competitor, he courted controversy in June 2012 after being disqualified in the ATP Queen's Club final after kicking down an advertising board which injured a court side official.

Line judge Andrew McDougall suffered a gash to his leg and stood up to protest to the player.

Nalbandian was officially defaulted for "unsportsmanlike behavior" before returning to apologize to the crowd.

His final appearance will be an exhibition match against Rafael Nadal on November 23 in Buenos Aires.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
updated 9:48 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 8:58 AM EST, Tue January 21, 2014
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
updated 1:59 PM EST, Wed January 15, 2014
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
updated 8:14 AM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
updated 6:42 AM EST, Mon January 6, 2014
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.