By Emily Goddard

Peter Norfolk June 28 - British wheelchair tennis icon Peter Norfolk has claimed he has completely ruled out returning to competitive sport after retiring earlier this year - for now.

The double Paralympic champion - he took gold at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, as well as silver at Athens and London 2012 and bronze at Beijing - announced his retirement in January after competing at London 2012 - what he calls "the Games of the century", despite being confident of medalling at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

But Norfolk said it was his desire to "give the youngsters a go" and, more importantly, "to start getting the family life back" that made him decide to call time on his career as a professional athlete.

"My little boy came out one day and said 'I hate tennis'," the 52-year-old multiple Grand Slam and Super Series title winner told insidethegames.

"He's four-and-a-half and he hates tennis, so why is that?

"It took us a while to work it out but it's because he associated tennis with me going away all the time.

"To be a top athlete, it's extremely selfish.

"Your family and everyone around you has to have the same goal, and really it's tough, but it was a difficult decision [to retire] as well."

Peter Norfolk carried the flag for Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening CeremonyPeter Norfolk carried the flag for Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony

However, when asked if he had completely ruled out a return to competitive sport, Norfolk replied: "At the moment...sort of" and admitted that adjusting to his "new life" after such an unparalleled career on the court has proved to be something of a challenge.

"Well, I have got to stick to my guns really," he said.

"I mean it's still fresh and new, and in a way it is a new life.

"I have spent the last 20 years playing tennis and with my wife and my family, you are focussed on winning [when you're a full-time athlete].

"Winning becomes a religion, and it is also a habit.

"When you get that habit, you want it again.

"Going up on the podium and winning a medal or being a Flagbearer for your nation coming into the Olympic Stadium, outside of sport I am not going to get those buzzes ever again and that's hard to leave behind."

He even added that it might not even be too late to retract his retirement.

"The doors are always open," Norfolk said.

"I mean we've seen lots of other people do comebacks...but it's about whether the mind wants to, the heart wants to and whether the body is willing.

"If the body is not willing then you know, I'm stuffed."

But for now Norfolk, who runs his own wheelchair company, Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC), says he is happy just giving "something back" to the sport in an advisory role and possibly a coaching position in the future.

"I had a great time on the circuit but now it's time to give something back; help the youngsters on our Tennis Foundation Performance Programme, do some talent spotting, and use my knowledge and experience of winning and playing, and to help the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) and the Tennis Foundation," he told insidethegames.

"It's exciting.

"I'm not going to throw away my years of experience and winning.

"We have got lots of new players and we still have got room to improve wheelchair tennis in this country.

"The Paralympics has made a massive difference to everyone's awareness of what's going on."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2013: Wheelchair tennis Norfolk calls time on full-time playing career