Melbourne: Veteran Tommy Haas said there were times during Wednesday's match with second seed Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open when he believed he could still compete with the leading stars in the game.
The German, at 33 years nine months the oldest player in the men's singles draw, gave reminders of his rich talent against the Spanish 10-time grand slam champion before bowing out 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in 2hr 29min on Rod Laver Arena.
Haas, who turned pro in 1996, said he was weighing up his future after so many gruelling years on the men's tour.
Now ranked a lowly 190th in the world, he reached a best of number two in the world in 2002 before a succession of shoulder operations derailed his career.
Haas, who reached three Melbourne semi-finals, in 1999, 2002 and 2007, rolled back the years with some cracking forehands and backhands against Nadal on Wednesday.
"When I play at certain moments like I did today, I feel like I can definitely still play with some of the big guys and maybe still have some success," Haas said.
"That's the challenge that I have to ask myself, if I'm still willing to do that after so many injuries, after being on the road now for 15 years, and if I still want to do that.
"So these are discussions I have to obviously have for myself, with my team, with my family, and then see if it's going to be worth it."
Haas is playing under a "protected ranking" of number 20 after being sidelined from February 2010 until April last year but will soon face a dilemma.
"That's a big question I have to see for myself. That's going to be very interesting what happens in the next I guess three, four, five months," he said.
"You only get your ranking protected for so long and you only have a few chances to play in the main draws.
"If your ranking is not back within the top 80, 70, 60, you're going to have to ask for a few wildcards (to play in tournament main draws)."
Haas said if he did not get wildcards then he would have to go through qualifying and possibly play in some challengers.
"I'm not sure if I'm up for the task of doing that."
Haas said he savoured playing in the main stadium again in Melbourne and experiencing the big-match atmosphere.
"These are the moments when you play in Rod Laver Arena that's great, against one of the greatest, that's obviously awesome," he said.