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Last Updated: Monday, 15 November, 2004, 21:59 GMT
Kafelnikov set for career switch
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Kafelnikov threatened to quit the tour at the end of last year
Former world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov claims he has given up tennis for a new career - as a professional poker player.

"I find it very exciting because you win not with the cards but with your skills," said Kafelnikov, who is also a keen roulette player.

"You need guts in poker, as in tennis. And if you don't believe in your ability, you don't win.

"In tennis I believed in myself, that's why I had so much success."

The 30-year-old who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has not 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
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
"I have retired," the Russian added. "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.

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

"I was losing to guys who, a couple of years before, I was able to beat with only my left hand. That's when I realised my time was gone."

Kafelnikov skips French
30 Apr 04 |  Tennis
Kafelnikov looks set to quit
02 Oct 03 |  Tennis

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