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Marcus Willis Announces Retirement From Pro Tour

British qualifier Marcus Willis gave Wimbledon fans the ultimate feel-good underdog story at the 2016 Wimbledon.

This week, the 30-year-old Briton closed the curtain on his pro career. Willis announced his retirement on social media.

“Tennis, it’s been one hell of a ride,” Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve decided that I’ll be retiring as a professional tennis player after dedicating 22 years to the sport I love.”

Willis was once a promising junior player. But lack of success on the pro circuit and some bad life choices got in the way of him making a huge mark on the pro tour. He nearly walked away from the game in 2016.

The left-handed Willis wound up becoming a local teaching pro at the Warwick Boat Club in Britain and contemplated moving to America.

Willis’ life changed after meeting and falling in love with his girlfriend, Jennifer Bate, who convinced him to give pro tennis one more chance.

Willis took her advice. Then embarked on an inspiring underdog story that saw him play through Wimbledon pre-qualifying and qualifying and win his opening-round match in 2016 to set up a dream second-rounder vs. Federer on Centre Court. Willis’ grit and story impressed the Swiss Maestro.

“Yes, I have followed it actually before I even saw him in my section of the draw. I heard more about it. I think it’s one of the best stories in a long time in our sport, other than Djokovic winning slams, you know, Rafa doing a good comeback, and Murray playing great. This is the kind of stories we need in our sport.  I think it’s a great, great story,” Federer said. “I’m very excited to be playing him actually.  It’s not something that I get to do very often.  I’m looking forward to that.”

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer ended Willis’ Wimbledon run, but left the Briton with lifetime memories.

“There’s so many,” Willis said after bowing to Federer. “I played a good point where I lobbed him. I can say I lobbed Roger Federer.

“It was all just a blur. It was amazing. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up. I loved every bit of it. Not the duffing bit. I loved getting stuck in, fighting hard. Nothing in particular, just the whole experience was incredible.”