Mikhail Youzhny, who played his last match last week in St Petersburg, had quite the noteworthy career—and not just because of the racquet smash heard around the world.
The Russian navigated the ATP World Tour quite effectively for well over a decade. He made his first major breakthroughs in 2002 when he won his first career title in Stuttgart on clay and triumphed in one of the most memorable Davis Cup matches in the history of the event. Playing a live fifth rubber, Youzhny rallied from two sets down against fellow 20-year-old Paul-Henri Mathieu to give Russia its first-ever title.
Four years later, Youzhny became a Grand Slam semifinalist for the first time at the 2006 US Open. Nearly two years after that, he made his Top 10 singles debut, reaching No. 8 in January of 2008.
From 2002 to 2013, Youzhny won ten singles titles and finished as a runner-up 11 times, playing championship matches on all surfaces. In what would be his last final, he defeated David Ferrer at the 2013 Valencia Open.
Over the past few years, Youzhny struggled with his form before working his way back by playing ATP Challengers. At last year’s US Open, the full range of his talent was on display when he had Roger Federer on the ropes, leading two sets to one in the second round, before losing.
Federer was among the players, past and present, to send their regards to the veteran after his final match.
Respect Mikhail ????— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 23, 2018
Wonderful career https://t.co/CyAMJEEVWs
Marin Cilic also acknowledged “the Colonel.”
Former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, now the tournament director for the indoor event in Rotterdam, recognized his event’s past champ, too.
Youzhny might not have won a Grand Slam title, but like his signature salute, his career was quite memorable.
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