Joel Dembe has announced his retirement from wheelchair tennis ©CPC

Canadian wheelchair tennis player Joel Dembe has announced his retirement from the sport.

The 31-year-old Paralympian has opted to "focus on other pursuits" and will depart the sport as one of his country's all-time top players.

He won Canada's first-ever medal at the Parapan American Games on home soil in Toronto this year, winning bronze in the men's doubles with his long-time partner Philippe Bedard.

“I’ve had a very successful competitive career and I think I’m at the age right now where I want to focus on my post-athletic career,” Dembe said.

“The opportunity that I was given through wheelchair tennis to travel the world and compete for my country was a fantastic experience.

"But for me this is a pretty easy decision.

"This isn’t the complete end for me in tennis though.

Joel Dembe won doubles bronze at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto this year
Dembe won doubles bronze at the Parapan American Games in Toronto this year ©CPC

"There are a lot of exciting opportunities for me to remain active in tennis and I’m really excited about that.

"Wheelchair tennis is going to have a great future in Canada and if I can in any way support that I will.”

Dembe was Canada's number one ranked player for three years between 2012 and 2014 and won national titles, across singles and doubles, on six occasions.

He also won 25 titles on the international circuit, most recently triumphing at the Kamloops Legacy Games in British Columbia in July.

He represented Canada at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games.

“Joel has had a fantastic career, beginning with representing Canada at the Junior World Team Cup in 2002,” said Janet Petras, director of wheelchair tennis at Tennis Canada.

“We will miss Joel at the high performance level but look forward to continuing to work with him to develop Canadian wheelchair tennis in the next chapter of his career.”

Dembe recently obtained his Tennis Canada instructor certificate and is planning to earn his club pro certificate.

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