In the first of a series of guest blogs, 37-year-old Fabrice Santoro talks about bringing down the curtain on his career at the Paris Masters after 21 years on the ATP Tour.
I've heard people talking a lot about me retiring, but it's not a word that I like. It's only my retirement from sport and I've got a whole new life just about to start. I've had a lot of fun playing tennis, but there have been plenty of frustrating times in a career that has been a constant struggle as you have to be at your best the whole time.
From a physical perspective playing competitive tennis at the top level has been getting harder and harder for the last few years. I would never have been able to carry on for so long without the support of the fans in the stadiums and the people I meet in the street.
Their kindness and their thoughtfulness have kept me going. There's no doubt in my mind that without that special relationship I would definitely have given up earlier.
I honestly believe that if I were competitive and fit I could play on for another year or two. But if there's one thing I don't want to do that's overstay my welcome - you have to understand that I'm not up to it anymore - or end up getting injured, which would be worse. Also there aren't many champions who get to decide the day and the time when it all comes to an end, and I've been able to do that.
I've been getting a lot of nice comments in the locker room too, and people are amazed that I'm packing it in when I'm still ranked around 50th in the world. I suppose it's an unorthodox way for an unorthodox player to go out. As far as I'm concerned, though, I like it this way. I've done everything in my power to keep going but at the same time I can't wait for it to be over either.
I've been thinking a lot recently about competing at the Australian Open in January, but I've decided not to go, even though I would have become the first player ever to play at Grand Slam events in four different decades. People are saying lots of positive things to me about that and other players are still trying to encourage me to do it.
"Go on," they say. "It's a three-week thing that people will still be talking about in 40 years." Some people have even set up Facebook groups to try and get me to go to Melbourne. That's lovely but it won't be happening: it's over.
So now I'm going to start a new and exciting adventure and I hope our paths cross again in the future.