Roger Federer is to bring down the curtain on his illustrious career this week, but the Swiss maestro has assured his millions of fans that he will not become a “tennis ghost.”
In London, downriver from where he won a record eight Wimbledon titles, the 41-year-old said he had no intention of walking away from a sport he has graced for so long.
Speaking to reporters at London’s O2 Arena, where Federer twice won the ATP Finals title, the Swiss was emotional at times as he explained the decision to hang up his racket.
Asked what his plans were, Federer said he would not disappear like Swedish great Bjorn Borg, who is captaining Europe against the Rest of the World this week.
“I just wanted to let the fans know I won’t be a ghost. It’s funny, I spoke about Bjorn Borg, he didn’t return to Wimbledon for 25 years and that hurts every fan,” Federer said of the 11-time major winner, who quit tennis aged 26. “But I don’t think I’ll be that guy. I feel tennis has given me too much. I have been around the game for too long. Have fallen in love with too many things.”
“You’ll see me again. In what capacity, I don’t know. Still have to think about it a little bit, give myself some time,” he said.
Federer on Thursday last week announced that the Laver Cup, the team event he helped create, would be the last act of a professional career spanning almost a quarter of a century.
Elaborating on his decision to retire from competitive action, Federer described the past few months as stressful, saying he was not willing to “risk it all” by having more surgery on his troublesome right knee.
“At some point you sit down and go: ‘Okay, we are at an intersection here, at a crossroads, and you have to take a turn, and which way is it?’” he said. “I was not willing to go into that direction of let’s risk it all. The hardest part after that is when you realize: ‘Okay, this is the end.’”
Federer has not played a match since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year and is not in shape to play singles at the Laver Cup.
He hopes to bow out in a doubles tie, preferably alongside great rival Rafael Nadal.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but it could obviously be a special moment,” he said.
WTA JAPAN OPEN
Taiwan’s Latisha Chan yesterday was eliminated in the doubles at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, losing 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 alongside partner Alexa Guarachi of Chile against Nicole Melichar-Martinez of the US and Australia’s Ellen Perez.
Chan and Guarachi on Monday won their first-round match 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 against Japan’s Miyu Kato and Wang Xinyu of China.
Sister Chan Hao-ching and partner Shuko Aoyama of Japan on Tuesday lost their opening-round match 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 to Melichar-Martinez and Perez.
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