The career of one of the greatest tennis players Israel has ever seen will come to an end in September, with Andy Ram announcing on Wednesday that he will retire following Israel’s Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Argentina.
Ram, who doesn’t intend to play again on the ATP Tour, broke the news in front of friends and family who were invited to a cinema to watch a movie the 34-yearold had filmed over the past two years about his life on the tennis tour. Ram broke out in tears after the film ended and personally thanked many of those on hand before explaining his decision.
“This is the right time,” said Ram, who never quite recovered from surgery to repair a muscle tear in his right hip which he underwent in October 2012. “I have experienced so much and I wouldn’t pass on any of it, the good or the bad.”
The person who is best associated with Ram, long-time friend and doubles partner Yoni Erlich, wasn’t on hand for Wednesday’s announcement as he was playing in the Portugal Open in Oeiras.
Erlich and Paul Hanley lost 6-2, 6-2 to Matthew Ebden and Dmitry Tursunov in the first round.
After his singles career had stalled, Ram teamed up with Erlich and the duo made their breakthrough in Wimbledon in 2003 when they reached the semifinals.
Ram became the first Israeli to win a Grand Slam tournament when he took the mixed doubles title with Vera Zvonareva at Wimbledon in 2006 before also claiming the mixed doubles crown at the French Open with Nathalie Dechy the following year.
Ram and Erlich’s greatest moment together arrived when they won the doubles title at the 2008 Australian Open. Ram was ranked as high as No. 5 in the world in 2008 and won a total of 19 doubles titles, 16 of them with Erlich.
The two also helped form the backbone of Israel’s Davis Cup team over the past decade. Since September 2006, Ram and Erlich have won 15 of 17 matches in the Davis Cup and it was their victory over Russia’s duo in July 2009 which historically booked Israel’s place in the semifinals of the competition.