Simon says he has no regrets as he ends career after exit at Paris Masters

AP - Michel Euler

French veteran Gilles Simon revelled in his good fortune after closing the curtain on his 20-year tennis career on Thursday following a straight sets defeat to eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Paris Masters.

Simon, 37, said: "I just feel so lucky to have been a tennis player. It's what I have always wanted to be.

"I was a professional tennis player for a long time and that's why I was lucky twice. And I could stop when I wanted ... and so I have been lucky three times."

During his two decades on the ATP circuit, Simon rose to number six in the world and claimed 14 titles.

In an on-court ceremony after the third round match, the head of the French tennis federation Gilles Moretton and Cedric Pioline, the Paris Masters tournament director, led a celebration of the player's career.

"Thanks and well done for such a wonderful career," Moretton tweeted later.

Simon announced before the tournament at the Accor Arena in Bercy, south-eastern Paris, that he would retire after his elimination.

It was expected on Monday evening against the former world number one Andy Murray who had beaten him in 16 of their 18 encounters.

Simon's contemporaries such as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Jérémy Chardy gathered in the stands for the requiem.

Instead, they were regaled with a Simon symphony: clean hitting, patience, precision and a craftsman's angles as he came from a set down to beat the 35-year-old Briton in two hours and 50 minutes.


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