Still only 31, Queenstown-raised tennis pro Ben McLachlan’s called time on his career.

The doubles specialist, who won seven ATP titles, $2.5 million in prize money and a career-high world ranking of 18, says he’s been thinking of pulling pin for the past two years.

‘‘The only thing that made me question it is just ’cos I’m still young for the doubles game, I guess.

‘‘But at the same time I did spend 10 years on tour and that was, for me, I think, enough time, especially when you’re from New Zealand and I’m only coming home for the off-seasons.’’

Another factor, McLachlan says, is he wasn’t doing as well, ‘‘and maybe that’s part of the reason I wasn’t enjoying the tennis and competing as much as I did before’’.

Yet another factor is his wife and fitness trainer Georgia’s pregnancy — ‘‘that made me want to come back and settle here because that would be quite tough on the tour’’.

The couple have bought a Fernhill two-bedder they’re busily renovating, and are also training up their two-month-old English springer spaniel cross, Milo.

‘‘I was just saying to Georgia I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy in my life.

‘‘In terms of plans, there’s not a whole lot, to be honest.

“I just wanted to come back and take a bit of time to kind of do some soul-searching and figure out what’s next, actually.’’

New chapter: Newly-retired tennis pro Ben McLachlan with his wife Georgia and their new puppy, Milo

Coaching, he admits, is definitely a possibility.

He’s impressed with Queenstown Tennis Club’s rising talent — ‘‘I would like to help out when I can’’.

Looking back, he says making the semis, with new partner Jan-Lennard Struff, in his first grand slam, the 2018 Aussie Open, was a big highlight — ‘‘that was a huge shock to, I think, everyone, myself included’’.

Making some other grand slam quarters was also a highlight, ‘‘and just getting to travel with Georgia, [brother and coach] Riki and having my parents [Yuriko and Craig] come to support me in Europe’’.

McLachlan made waves when he switched his allegiance to Japan in 2017, thanks to his mum’s nationality, but he has no doubt it benefited his tennis — he represented his adopted country at Davis Cup and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

So would he ever consider a comeback?

‘‘At this stage, no, but things change.

‘‘Obviously I could try to go back — there’s still time.’’

Supporting the next generation

A fundraising tournament for Queenstown’s next would-be tennis pro, Kai Milburn, is being held this weekend.

Kai, 17, started the year winning three International Tennis Federation junior singles titles in NZ — the fundraiser’s aimed at getting him to more international tournaments so he can drop his under-18 ranking and get into junior grand slams like Wimbledon.

Tomorrow’s tournament at the tennis club’s Gardens courts, featuring 40 players, is preceded by an exhibition game tonight, about 5.15pm, between Kai and McLachlan — ‘‘he will probably beat me,’’ McLachlan says.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -