ISRAELI PLAYER Harel Levy 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Schalit/AP)
The career of one of Israeli tennis’s greatest players officially ended on Sunday when Harel Levy announced his retirement.
The 32-year-old reached a career-best world ranking of 30 in June 2001, but was never the same player after suffering a complicated right hip injury that same summer, losing 20 of his next 23 matches, and eventually spending much of the remainder of his career on the Challenger circuit.
Nevertheless, he remained an integral part of Israel’s Davis Cup side until this year and helped the national team to the competition’s semifinals in 2009 with crucial victories.
“I had the honor to be ranked among the top players in the world and experienced amazing things that were only cut abruptly by my injury,” an emotional Levy said in a press conference in Herzliya on Sunday. “I battled my injury hoping for some more success and got it with the Davis Cup team in recent years.
“Tennis has given me so much, but now it is time for me to dedicate myself to my family.”
Levy’s most famous victory came against Pete Sampras in the Masters
Series event in Rome in 2001, and his contributions to Israel tennis
were acknowledged on Sunday by local greats Amos Mansdorf and Shlomo
Glickstein, among others.
“Even when Harel was a youngster, I could tell that he would be one of
the best players in the world,” said Mansdorf about Levy, who has
coached Dudi Sela in recent months.
“The main reason for his success is his great character. You could
always count on Levy to give 1,000 percent, and I’m happy that even at
the end of his career he claimed important Davis Cup wins over Sweden