Andy Ellis, one of England's leading doubles players in the last decade, has announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect.
Ellis, the 28-year-old from Leeds, left the national training centre in Milton Keynes to seek fresh opportunities outside of badminton following changes to partners within the world-class performance programme.
"It's the toughest decision I've ever had to make," said Ellis.
"The programme has only ever provided and supported me. Ultimately, it helped to achieve what I set out to do. Things change, and it's a natural development in life."
Ellis, who played his last tournament with partner Peter Mills at the recent Welsh International, is now working in a sales director role at Strength and Conditioning Education.
He said: "The three things I played badminton for were achieving, first and foremost, the enjoyment and the financial side as I got better throughout my career.
"I dearly love the game and didn't want to stop but I wanted to be secure in my life."
Ellis counts breaking the world's top 10 with former men's doubles partner Chris Adcock in November 2013 to May 2014 as his finest achievement in the sport.
"I've had some fantastic experiences in the sport, but doing that is something I will always cherish," he admitted.
"The team silver at the Commonwealth Games last summer and meeting Prince Charles was great and I'm a double European individual medallist, but breaking that top 10 against the world's best was great."
In a team environment, the passionate right-hander heralds the silver with the England senior men's team in Basle as another career highlight.
He said: "That was a crazy experience to win that medal. Ultimately, we beat the Germans in the semi-finals, as we love to do, but it was the way we did it that stuck out.
"We identified the games we needed to win and everybody did that. That was amazing and a real joy to be part of."
Ellis, who will still continue playing in the AJ Bell National Badminton League, also won European individual bronze medals with Adcock in 2012 and 2014.
So how would Ellis, a fierce competitor on court, be remembered during his time in the national set up? "I'd like to think myself as a leader in the training hall. I trained hard and I was never scared of anyone," he stated.
"No matter who we played, I always felt that we could win. I was fearless and also quite cheeky!"
Jon Austin, Badminton England's performance director, said: "I know this has been a heart wrenching decision for Andy but we respect and wish to support the decision he has made. Andy has been a loyal and integral part of the WCP for many years, having been identified from Yorkshire to join what was the original ‘world class start programme’.
"I know Andy has every intention to continue to play badminton and be involved. He will live in Milton Keynes and subject to availability may well provide sparring support once settled into his new job.
"He is starting a new chapter in his life and we wish him well."
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