Conor Niland

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Conor Niland
Conor Niland.jpg
Residence Limerick, Ireland
Born (1981-09-19) 19 September 1981 (age 35)
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro 2005
Retired 2012
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money $247,686
Career record 9–11
Career titles 0 ATP
Highest ranking No. 129 (6 December 2010)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open Q3 (2010)
French Open Q2 (2010)
Wimbledon 1R (2011)
US Open 1R (2011)
Career record 0–0
Career titles 0 ATP
Highest ranking 770 (23 August 2010)
Last updated on: 2 February 2013.

Conor Niland (born 19 September 1981) is a former Irish professional tennis player. He was born in Birmingham, England, and grew up in Limerick, Ireland. He attended St. Nessan's National School in Mungret, Co. Limerick, before moving on to Crescent College Comprehensive in Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick. He was the highest ranked Irish tennis player during his career.[1] He played for the Ireland Davis Cup team from 2000 to 2012.[2] He officially announced his retirement from tennis on 12 April 2012 due to a recurring hip injury.[3] In a statement Niland said: "I am today sadly announcing my retirement from professional tennis. I have been suffering from labral tears in both hip cartilages and this has resulted in pain and restricted movement for the past nine months."


Niland spent most of his career on the Futures and Challenger circuits, although he has played a handful of ATP World Tour tournaments. He was the top ranked Irish player. As of 6 March 2010, he played in 25 Davis Cup matches for Ireland with a record of 15 wins & 10 losses (12–9 in singles & 3–1 in doubles). After 4 previous defeats, he won his first ever Grand Slam qualifying match on 26 August 2009 when defeating Australia's Joseph Sirianni 6–0 6–4 in the first qualifying round of the US Open, but in the end he failed to qualify for the main draw.[4]

In January 2010, he lost in the last qualifying round of the Qatar Open in Doha, and in the first major of the year, he defeated Henri Kontinen (6–4,6–4) and Jesse Witten (2–6,6–1,6–4) in the first 2 qualifying rounds for the Australian Open to leave him one game away from the main draw.[5] However, he lost to Ricardo Hocevar (6–1,4–6,3–6) in the final qualifying round. In Houston, Texas, at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, he qualified for his first ATP main draw but lost in the first round.[6] His improvement during the year continued when winning the Israel Open title, Rainer Schüttler among his highest-ranked victim.[7] The win pushed him into the top 200 for the first time in his career, lifting him to 165 in the world, and he reclaimed his place as Irish No.1 from Louk Sorensen. In November 2010, Niland won another ATP challenger event, this time the ATP Salzburg Indoors in Austria, lifting him to a career high ranking of 129.[8]

After an encouraging start to 2011 saw Niland reach the quarter-finals of the Heilbronn Open in Germany, he struggled throughout the first half of the year with illness and injury and fell to a ranking of 184 by June. He came into great form for the grass court season, however, and picked up 4 straight wins to qualify for the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham and also defeat 96th-ranked Donald Young in the first round. After Tatsuma Ito ended that winning streak, Niland turned his attention to the Wimbledon qualifying rounds. He successfully negotiated all 3 rounds, defeating Josselin Ouanna, Greg Jones and finally Nikola Mektić, to qualify for his first ever Grand Slam event.[9][10] In doing so, he also became the first Irishman to reach the main draw at Wimbledon since Sean Sorensen in 1977 and 1980. He faced Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the first round where he lost in five sets, having led 4–1 with a double-break in the fifth set. Had he won, Niland would have faced six-time champion Roger Federer in the second round.[11][12]

Niland participated in the 2011 US Open. In the first round of the Singles Qualifying, he faced Pavol Červenák and won 6–1, 6–4.[13] In the second round, Niland defeated Tsung-Hua Yang 6–2, 6–3[14] In the third round, Niland beat Matwé Middelkoop 2–6, 6–1, 6–4 for a place in the Main Draw.[15] This was Niland's second time in a row to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam. In the first round, Niland retired against World No. 1, Novak Djokovic, whilst trailing 0–6, 1–5, due to food poisoning.[16][17]

On 12 April 2012, Niland announced his retirement due to a recurring hip injury which resulted in pain and restricted his movement for the previous nine months.[18] He was considering having hip surgery but was "advised of a lengthy recovery time without any guarantee of a successful outcome." Niland thanked those who had helped him achieve his success. He said: "I would like to thank my family, in particular my parents, for their phenomenal support throughout my tennis career. I would not have been able to achieve the things I did without them."

Personal life[edit]

Although Niland was born in Birmingham, his parents moved the family back to Limerick when he was 2 years old.[19] He stayed there until the age of 16, when he went to Millfield,[20] the public school in Somerset that is renowned for its sporting prowess. After three years there, Niland went to study English at University of California, Berkeley, before leaving to focus on playing tennis professionally in 2005.[21] His father, Ray, played at corner back for the Mayo senior Gaelic football team, while his sister Gina is a former Irish No.1 tennis player.[22]

Singles titles[edit]

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (0)
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP World Tour 500 (0)
ATP World Tour 250 (0)
ATP Challenger Tour (3)
ITF Futures (5)
Wins (8)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 7 August 2006 United Kingdom Wrexham, F12 Hard Italy Riccardo Ghedin 6–4, 2–6, 6–3
2. 19 March 2007 Croatia Vrsar, F4 Clay Hungary Kornél Bardóczky 6–4, 6–4
3. 28 April 2008 United Kingdom Bournemouth, F7 Clay (I) France Pierre Metenier 7–5, 6–0
4. 23 June 2008 Republic of Ireland Limerick F2 Carpet (I) India Harsh Mankad 6–3, 6–4
5. 4 August 2008 India New Delhi III Hard Czech Republic Tomáš Cakl 6–4, 6–4
6. 9 November 2009 United States Florida F28 Clay Australia James Lemke 3–6, 6–4, 6–0
7. 8 May 2010 Israel Ramat HaSharon Hard Brazil Thiago Alves 5–7, 7–6(7–5), 6–3
8. 21 November 2010 Austria Salzburg Hard (i) Poland Jerzy Janowicz 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3
Runner-up (5)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 26 March 2007 Croatia Rovinj, F5 Clay Croatia Marko Tkalec 4–6, 5–7
2. 17 September 2007 United Kingdom London, F17 Hard Austria Martin Fischer 4–6, 3–6
3. 31 March 2008 United Kingdom Exmouth, F6 Carpet (i) United Kingdom Joshua Goodall 4–6, 6–7(3–7)
4. 12 October 2009 France Saint-Dizier, F18 Hard France Antony Dupuis 3–6, 6–4, 4–6
5. 2 November 2009 United States Birmingham, F27 Clay Australia James Lemke 6–4, 2–6, 5–7

Grand Slam Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Australian Open Q1 Q1 Q3 Q2 Q1
French Open A A Q2 Q1
Wimbledon Q1 Q1 Q1 1R
US Open A Q2 Q2 1R


  1. ^ "ATP rankings-Ireland". ATP. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Conor Niland Davis Cup Profile". ATP. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Niland announces retirement". Tennis Ireland. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Niland tackles US Open". Limerick Leader. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Niland – just one win away from Australian Open". Limerick Leader. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Conor Niland through to US Clay Championships". RTÉ Sport. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Conor Niland wins Israel Open". RTÉ Sport. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Niland claims Salzburg crown". Irish Times. 21 November 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Niland qualifies for Wimbledon". RTÉ Sport. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Niland books place at Wimbledon". Irish Times. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Niland's effort comes up just short". Irish Times. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Niland edged out in five-set Wimbledon epic". RTÉ Sport. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Irish advance in US Open qualifiers". RTÉ Sport. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Niland closes in on US Open qualification". RTÉ Sport. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Niland and Sorenson reach US Open main draw". RTÉ Sport. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Niland to face Djokovic at US Open". RTÉ Sport. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Niland forced to retire at US Open". RTÉ Sport. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Niland announces retirement". Tennis Ireland. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Wimbledon 2011: Conor Niland hopes to have Irish talking about tennis". The Guardian. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "Good schooling benefits Niland". Irish Independent. 28 December 1998. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Wimbledon 2011: Conor Niland hopes to have Irish talking about tennis". The Guardian. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "The road to SW19: what's next for Conor Niland?". The 15 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 

External links[edit]