Federer is on the team of captain Björn Borg with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, among others – the “big four” are united on a field for the first and last time in terms of competition. “We appreciate each other enormously, we know we have made progress in tennis and as people. Being on the team for the first time will be very special,” Federer said in advance.
Federer informed his fans of his retirement last week with a long audio message. Even after days, the tribute to one of the most beloved athletes is not over. “First I wanted to write a letter and post it. Then I realized it’s a huge letter, too long, maybe people won’t be able to read my handwriting. Why not an audio message? I am very happy now. I wrote about 20 versions in total, I read every word x times, “Federer said. What about the reactions?” I was particularly pleased with the reactions to me as a person who have nothing to do with records. “
Federer had already announced on Tuesday in a small circle of Swiss journalists that he absolutely wanted to stay in the sport. “I think it’s a real shame when the former top players retire and you don’t see them anymore,” said the Basel player. “To each one of him, but it’s not me. I love this sport so much, I want to continue to be close to him.”
Federer clarified these thoughts at a press conference in London on Wednesday. “I’m not going to be a ghost, I wanted to let the fans know. Björn Borg hasn’t been back to Wimbledon in 25 years, it hurts,” Federer said, without criticizing the five-time Wimbledon champion for that. In what function, whether he is a coach, commentator or tournament director, the father of four has not yet thought about it.
Team Europe captain Björn Borg hardly denies him this last wish as an active player and allows Federer to race alongside Nadal in a brace. “This is perhaps one of the beautiful messages that goes beyond sport: since we have been fighting each other, we have great mutual respect, we get along very well and have developed a beautiful friendship,” Federer said of Rafael Nadal.
Aside from his many records and memorable moments, Federer is perhaps most proud of his longevity, he said Wednesday. “I was famous for not playing so consistently. And then I became one of the most consistent players ever. I really enjoyed being able to stay on top for so long.” For more than 15 years he has been able to say before every tournament that he hoped to win it.
The discussion about the “greatest of all time” in the sport probably won’t end even after Federer’s resignation. Federer doesn’t seem to care that he now stops behind Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21) with 20 majors. “I’m very proud of where I am.” He himself only thought about Grand Slam records when he got close to Pete Sampras (14 major titles). “I won the 15th Grand Slam at Wimbledon when Pete was sitting there. Everything after that was a bonus. I am happy to have won five more and to have also won over 100 titles. But I don’t need all the records to be happy. “
He will miss a lot of things from the tour, but most of all the audience. “The fans are at the center of everyone. Without the fans, I wouldn’t have felt 80% of those feelings. “
Federer has known for a few months that he will end his career. But it was also a decision on when, where and how. “We are all relieved that it is known. I wish I had said that sooner. “The fact that London, where he has won eight Wimbledon titles and two ATP finals, will be the last venue suits him well.” I’m sitting on the bench with Björn and I’m not even alone after my announcement. ” .
Tennis will continue to have superstars in the future, one of which is new number one Carlos Alcaraz. “It’s disappointing that I have never been able to play against him.” Tennis is “more athletic than ever”. “Whatever will apply: those who move best on the pitch will be the best players.”
Can you regret something like a tennis legend with so many hits? “Maybe I could have been a little more professional from a young age. But maybe I would have lost fire much sooner, “Federer knows.
Federer is also planning at least one big farewell show. All of his former coaches and other friends should come to this. He wants to say “goodbye and thank you”. But this is not to be seen as a Serena Williams back door. For Federer there is no alternative for his age and also for his right knee, which has now been operated on three times. Federer doesn’t want to reveal what’s wrong with his knee exactly. “It’s a private matter, I don’t even know some things,” he explained. At least the injury does not hinder the Swiss, who had believed in a comeback until the last Wimbledon tournament, in everyday life.