VALENCIA, Spain Oct 23 Juan Carlos Ferrero's singles career came to an emotional end when he lost 7-5 6-3 to his Spanish compatriot and close friend Nicolas Almagro in the Valencia Open first round on Tuesday.
A former world number one who won the French Open in 2003 but whose career was hampered by injuries, Ferrero announced last month he would retire after playing his home event.
Sixth seed Almagro, at 27 Ferrero's junior by five years, had too much power and speed for his mentor in an entertaining match during which the pair exchanged smiles and jokes.
The younger man seemed to be suffering from a right shoulder problem late in the second set but shrugged off the injury and sealed victory on his first match point when Ferrero netted a return.
The pair embraced at the net and Ferrero was given a rousing ovation by the crowd as he fought back tears before flinging his racket, shirt and various other personal items into the stands. (Writing by Iain Rogers in Malaga; editing by Ken Ferris)