With advancement to the semifinals of the ATP Finals out of reach, two-time major doubles champion Horia Tecau closed out his career Thursday in the next best way possible: with one last win to savor.

Teaming up with Kevin Krawietz, the No. 8 seeds defeated fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 10-6, in Turin. It marked Tecau's 471st victory on the doubles court.

“Couldn't have had a better script to live this moment,” Tecau told press afterwards.

“In the morning before the match, all the emotions kick in and you're still trying to concentrate and put everything aside to focus on your execution in the match. All we talked about was to leave the court the way we wanted, with all the effort that we had, good attitude, good energy, to support each other and try to go for the win with our game.

“That's what I wanted to sum up in this last match.”


Inspired by the considerate approaches of Stefan Edberg and Patrick Rafter growing up, and later Roger Federer in his early ATP seasons, Tecau hopes his legacy extends beyond his on-court accomplishments. For the Romanian wants upcoming generations to see that ambitious goals can be attained all while upholding wholesome values and never letting the rigors of tour life get in the way of maintaining The Golden Rule.

“I was very fortunate to grow and experience different training camps when I was a junior and met great coaches along the way that always installed this feeling [to] give it 100 percent, be respectful, playing to win, have a good attitude on the court, treat everyone with respect all around, the players, the staff, the fans, everyone.

“You don't necessarily need to be closed, very selfish and not pay attention to others. I feel I lived my career like that.”

After finding himself on the losing side of three successive Wimbledon finals with Robert Lindstedt from 2010-12, Tecau’s long-cherished dream was realized three years later at the All England Club. He triumphed alongside Jean-Julien Rojer, whom he also partnered to titles at the 2017 US Open and 2015 ATP Finals.

Tecau carried the flag for Romania at the 2012 Olympics and brought home a silver medal in men’s doubles with Florin Mergea at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He also contested three mixed doubles finals at the Australian Open, tasting victory with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 2012.

“You are away from home, but you're in a big classroom with a lot of high-standard role models around. It's kind of forcing you to grow up and mature and be responsible for yourself and what you do on the tour, because there is a lot of fans, a lot of kids watching,” he continued.

“I don't feel any different or special. I feel like that was my education from home. When you have that education, you always try to choose those kind of people around you. Talking about coaches, partners, and it kind of grows on you. You want to be better, you want to be a better player, a better person, better everything. It's very motivating.”

Tecau's final title came with Krawietz in June of this year, at the 500-grass event in Halle.

Tecau's final title came with Krawietz in June of this year, at the 500-grass event in Halle.

The 36-year-old reached a career-high No. 2 on the ATP doubles rankings in November 2015 and amassed 38 titles. He lifted a season-high eight trophies in 2014 (all with Rojer) and stood in the Masters 1000 winner’s circle on three occasions. In April 2017, he was named a National Ambassador of UNICEF Romania.

Among the multitude of responses on his Instagram farewell post, countrywoman Simona Halep commented in a translation, “Congratulations champ for a great career. Tennis is poorer now. And thanks for the mixed doubles matches. Enjoy life.”

Added Mattek-Sands, “I wouldn’t have wanted to win my first Slam with anyone but you! You’ve had an amazing career filled with highlights and accomplishments but the person you are is really what defines you.”

Lindstedt, who grew to deeply understand Tecau’s character through the highs and lows of their three-year partnership, perhaps summed up the moment in time perfectly.

“Although we have already talked about this, I still feel sad reading it. You have so much more in you, but I respect your choice and strength of doing it your way.

“On your terms.”