Roger Federer, who announced his retirement from tennis last week, threw light on the events that led to his decision to call it quits from the sport.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has been plagued by injuries in recent years and said that when he felt “getting into the next level of training was getting difficult,” he knew he had to soon call it a day.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the 2022 Laver Cup, Federer stated that he was never going to “risk it at all.”
“I was not willing to go into the direction of let’s risk it all. I’m not ready for that. I always said that was never my goal. I can’t believe, if I look back at the last few years that I went through, the surgeries that I had to go through, for me it was always clear that I was going to end my career with no surgeries. You know, before 2016 and even ’16 was a tough year getting back from it,” he said.
The 41-year-old added that he knew any setbacks to his body and health would potentially rule him out of the sport.
“I guess there was a certain process that started at the beginning of the summer, you know, where you try to go to the next level in training, and I could feel it was getting difficult. So obviously at that point I knew any hiccup, any setback, for that matter, was going to be the one potentially,” he said.
He added that there were instances where he had to push too hard and liked the challenges in rehab.
“That you’re going to have harder moments or where you push too hard and you have to pull back a little bit, it’s normal in rehab because you always have to stay in that corridor of doing enough but not too much. I really like that challenge, because I really have to be in tune with my body and with my team of understanding how far can I go?”
“You start getting too pessimistic” – Roger Federer
Roger Federer with Rod Laver at the 2022 Laver Cup. (Pic – Getty Images)
Roger Federer said being too careful about his injuries and body condition made him pessimistic. The Swiss legend said the effort put in to sort out the injury issues, believing that it would turn around, was making him more tired.
“Then I think over the course of a few weeks and months there, we just have to really be careful and almost to a certain level too careful. Then I guess I was also getting more tired because you have to put in more effort into it to be able to sort of believe that it was going to turn around. You start getting too pessimistic. Then I also got a scan back which wasn’t what I wanted it to be. At some point you sit down and go, Okay, we are at an intersection here, at a crossroad, and you have to take a turn. Which way is it?” he explained.
Federer opined that a player needs to take the time needed to bounce back from injury troubles as it is tough to make a strong comeback in tennis.
“Any suggestions there from my side would be don’t have surgery if you don’t have to and just take the necessary time to come back, because it is brutal. I think tennis is a tough sport to bounce back into, because you have to be able to play long matches, five matches in a row every week, different continents, different surfaces. There is no substitute for you. Obviously mentally you need to know you have to be able to get all the way back there, and it’s hard,” Roger Federer said.
Roger Federer explains what was “bittersweet” in his career
Roger Federer’s last game to date was his defeat to Hubert Hurkacz at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
Roger Federer, who re-defined the sport with his artistry and grace, termed the decision to retire as “bittersweet”.
The 41-year-old said the period of deciding to retire was a stressful one and said he took a long time to get the wording of his retirement text right, including the usage of the word “bittersweet”.
“At one point when I returned from vacation, I really started to discuss the details of, okay, where, when, how, what. Honestly, this period was quite stressful getting the letter right, the wording right, using words like “bittersweet.” The bitterness, you always want to play forever. I love being out on court, I love playing against the guys, I love traveling. I never really felt like it was that hard for me to do, of winning, learn from losing, it was all perfect. I love my career from every angle. That’s the bitter part,” he said.”The sweet part was that I know everybody has to do it at one point. Everybody has to leave the game. It’s been a great, great journey. For that, I’m really grateful,” he added.
The fifth edition of the Laver Cup will be Federer’s swansong. He will team up with his biggest rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray for Team Europe. Coached by Bjorn Borg, Team Europe is undefeated in the previous four editions of the Laver Cup.
Federer has been struggling with a knee injury for the last three years, forcing him to miss a considerable amount of events on the tour. He confirmed that he will not be competing in the singles category in London. Instead, he will play only one doubles match before being replaced by Matteo Berrettini in the team.