ECKENTAL, November 1, 2019
Steve Darcis has booked his spot in the semi-finals of the Challenger Eckental. The 35-year-old Belgian, who is playing his last tournament on the ATP Challenger Tour before hanging up his racket in Australia next year, fought past Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-3.
“The court is very fast and only one or two points will decide the match. I just tried to stay calm and focused, trying to play my game. I am happy to be through today, as he was really good,” said Darcis, who seems to enjoy playing on carpet. “I played the final here in 2014 and won in 2016. I can say that this court here suits my game pretty well. I hope that I am not going to stop tomorrow. I will try to stay in the tournament a bit longer.”
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) November 1, 2019
The 35-year-old announced his plans to retire after next year’s Australian Open. Darcis shared the news during his home tournament at the European Open in Antwerp two weeks ago. “I actually wanted to finish my career after the Davis Cup but then I was selected to represent Belgium at the ATP Cup, which I think will be a nice event. When I am in Australia, I want to play the qualifying in Melbourne as well. So I decided to finish there. It’s a Grand Slam and a nice way to end my career.”
Davis Cup and beating Nadal
Following the €46,600 Challenger event in Germany, Darcis will be back in action to compete at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid but the veteran will probably arrive in Spain with mixed feelings.
“For me it’s not the Davis Cup anymore. It’s a team event, it’s totally different. I don’t expect too much and I don’t think that it will be great. But let’s give them a chance and see how it is,” Darcis said. The Liege native is best known to the tennis fans for his victory against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2013. Was it his best match of his career?
“Of course it was one of the best. There were a couple of another good matches but if I have to pick one, it will be this,” Darcis replied with a smile. After his tennis career, the Belgian will stay involved in tennis.
“I am in touch with many people and we will talk after the Davis Cup. It’s nice to see that there are people, who want me to work for them. It has to do something with tennis. That’s the only thing I can do. I am looking forward to it.”
Next up in Eckental, however, will be South African young gun Lloyd Harris.