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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Pickard pays tribute to Rusedski
By Simon Austin

Greg Rusedski and Tony Pickard with the 1997 Sports Personality of the Year award
Rusedski and Pickard with the 1997 Sports Personality of the Year award
Greg Rusedski "got as much out of his career as he possibly could", according to his former coach Tony Pickard.

Pickard worked with the Briton for nine months before splitting from him during Wimbledon in 1998.

"The talent he had was not Henman talent, but he had a fantastic work ethic," Pickard told BBC Sport.

"Not everyone can say they got to the final of a Grand Slam (the 1997 US Open) and reached number four in the world, but Greg can."

Rusedski announced his retirement from tennis on Saturday after teaming up with Jamie Murray in the doubles to clinch victory in Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against the Netherlands.

Pickard, who coached Stefan Edberg to six Grand Slam titles, said: "Greg can look back on his career with pride and satisfaction.

Greg has got a good sense of humour, he's intelligent and he has a belief in himself

Tony Pickard

"In fact, he was one shot away from becoming number one in the world (in the final in Vienna in October 1997), when he had match point against Goran Ivanisevic but went on to lose.

"He came that close. He achieved everything from the game he could have dreamed of."

Pickard said he had not spoken to the Canadian-born Briton since their partnership ended in 1998.

"Basically, he didn't want to listen and the trust went between the two of us," Pickard said.

"Then someone has to make the decision to go, and I did. That's how it goes.

"I've got no hard feelings toward him and have never had any hard feelings with anyone I've worked with.

"Greg has got a good sense of humour, he's intelligent and he has a belief in himself.

"He's not a young man I could imagine anyone would dislike."

And Pickard said he was not surprised at the timing of Rusedski's retirement.

"The poor lad's been suffering," he said. "You've got to feel for him a little bit because he's been suffering for the last 10 months.

"He hasn't been able to win a singles match for a long time and he's going out on a win.

"He probably thought he wasn't going to get into Wimbledon unless he got a wild card and thought enough was enough."

SEE ALSO
Rusedski's career in pictures
07 Apr 07 |  Tennis


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