Yoni Ehrlich, the decorated 45-year-old doubles tennis player, who suffered pain just hours before he was supposed to cooperate with Novak Djokovic, had to give up his participation in the ATP tournament in Tel Aviv this evening (Wednesday) due to severe back pain.
Yoni Ehrlich says goodbye to the crowd, photo: Oren Aharoni
At the place of the game that was supposed to take place, the two went up and thanked the crowd that came to honor the two icons.
"I swear to you, even if I was 50 percent fit - I would go up to play," Yoni Ehrlich explained to the fans, "I have no more tears left because I broke down in the dressing room.
"As you know, unfortunately the match did not take place today, it was supposed to be my last tournament. Three days ago I suffered from severe back pain and I did not train, we tried together with my medical team 24/7 to treat and train myself at 50% but it did not work."
"I want to thank Nola, thank you very much for agreeing to come here, you feel at home here, I don't know somehow the relationship between Serbs and Israelis is always special, everyone knows how amazing an actor you are, your amazing personality, the person you are, it's more important to me how kind You are for the people. Being a tennis player is one thing, being a person is another level."
Yoni Ehrlich with Novak Djokovic.
2 great athletes, photo: Oren Aharoni
Novak Djokovic told the fans: "It's a pleasure to be here, 15 years ago we played Davis here and one of the best atmospheres I've been in in Ramat Hasharon. I've been waiting to come back, it's been too long, there's a special relationship with Serbia and Israel for years."
"Yoni Ehrlich deserves great respect, and admiration, as he said, we took the title at Queen's 12 years ago and maintain a 100 percent success rate, I wish Yoni all the success, I know how much he wants to develop Israeli tennis and the next generation, when I am here I will always be happy to help tennis Israeli in any way I can."
Yoni Ehrlich said goodbye in Tel Aviv, this evening, photo: Oren Aharoni
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ehrlich was ranked fifth in the world at his peak and retires ranked 202nd in the world.
He won 22 men's doubles titles, including one Grand Slam – the 2008 Australian Open with Andy Ram.
Ehrlich and Ram, or as they were called in the media for years 'Andioni', were the most successful pair in the history of Israeli tennis, the two were also successful in the Olympic Games, when in Athens 2004 and London 2012, they reached the quarter-finals stage.
In total, Ehrlich won prize money worth $2,827,240.
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