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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Leaving tennis for poker

FORMER world No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov says he's given up tennis to become a professional poker player.

"I have retired," the Russian told the Independent newspaper today.

"But I have not officially announced it yet. Some people still think I am just taking a break, but I believe that my time in tennis has gone by. Even if I came back, I would have no chance to play at the level I was."

Kafelnikov, 30, hasn't played since losing in the second round of the St Petersburg Open in October 2003.

"I began at 19, and now it is impossible to compete with guys 10 years younger," he said.

"They are more hungry. I played five or six matches indoors, at the end of 2003, and I thought, 'I can't do this any more.'