A year ago at the U.S. Open, Harold Solomon made himself a promise. "I made a decision I was going to go out and see what I could do in a year, see if I could get back up in the top 30," he said. "If I didn't by this Open, I would quit."
Solomon announced his retirement today. "I made some progress," he said, over the phone from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "But overall, for the amount of time and effort I was putting into it, I wasn't getting enough out of it. I decided there were other things I could do to benefit myself and others."
Solomon, who grew up in Silver Spring, Md., played on the U.S. Davis Cup team four times and won 22 singles titles in his 12-year career. "I set a goal in 1978 that I wanted to achieve a ranking in the top five," he said. "At the U.S. Open in 1980, I was ranked No. 5. Even if it was just for two weeks, it was nice."
Solomon is 31 and currently ranked 185th. Four times, he was ranked among the top 10. He served three terms as president of the Association of Tennis Professionals. "When I first came up, guys were playing until 38, 39, 40," he said. "Now, 32 seems to be the oldest age."
The tour grinds you down. "It's tougher for a guy like me," he said. "I have to work a lot harder. I had to be there 100 percent."
He says he plans to take four months off and consider his options: his father's rental car business, tennis camp. "There's a little bit of sadness," he said. "To sit and watch guys on TV that you think you can still beat, and you can't do it.
"The only way I'll come out of retirement is if Martina (Navratilova) makes good on her offer. I read somewhere she wanted to play. I'll play her anytime, anywhere, for any amount of money."