London will host the Laver Cup this weekend, where he will say goodbye to his active career Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slams and one of the best players in the history of the game. Last week he announced the news of his retirement, but this week he announced that he will probably only play the opening day of doubles.
He knew he was walking on thin ice
The last time he played was in last year’s Wimbledon, where he made it to the quarterfinals. After the third knee surgery, he did not step on the (competition) courts again. The Swiss relived it for the BBC: “The last three years have been really hard. After Wimbledon last year, I knew I was walking on thin ice. I tried to return several times, but I was aware of the limitations. To be honest, at some point I stopped believing that I could still make it.”
It was just a matter of when
A few months ago, he again had a detailed medical examination, which showed that his knee is not well. “At that time, I quickly realized that this meant the end of my sports career. The only question was: when and how I would announce my decision. It became my reality. I’ve come to terms with it, but it was still stressful,” said the winner of 103 ATP series tournaments.
Pushed retirement to the end of the road
The last months were more or less dedicated to thinking about how to say goodbye: “These were emotionally very demanding weeks. I thought about my feelings, about all the people who helped me on my way. I’ve never thought about retirement before, if I were to dwell on those thoughts I’d be practically half-retired already, which would affect my game. I pushed those thoughts to the end of the road, which is where I really am now,” he added.
He just wanted to be in the top 100
In addition to many victories, he also spent 310 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings: “I don’t think there is anyone who expects so many victories and successes growing up. Of course, it was crazy when I won my first Wimbledon and climbed to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time. But then I wasn’t really concerned with numbers, wins, weeks and records, that was a job for the fans. Before, I just wanted to play, get on tour and break into the top 100 players. Therefore, I am sure that I exceeded all my expectations. It was a dream to be among the best for so long. This is also why I say goodbye to this game so satisfied.”
New stars will come
At the end of his career, Federer also remembered the extraordinary foursome (or threesome) who ruled the tennis world for so long, and now they will gather together for the last time at the Laver Cup and defend the colors of Europe: “After the farewell of Pete Sampras, tennis was in a slight decline, but then I came, then Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. We dominated for more than ten years. I think the fans liked that too. I believe many people will be sad, but there will be new players and wonderful people. Tennis makes for amazing stories, so I know our game is safe, I’m sure it will see amazing new superstars.“