Roger Federer‘s farewell tournament is almost here and whether the 20-time Grand Slam champion will play at the event has been a huge subject of debate on social media. Speaking in an exclusive interview with SRF, the Swiss maestro put those questions to bed, remarking that he will indeed be playing doubles at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Although the 41-year-old admitted that his knee was too far gone to sustain a singles match, he had no qualms about playing doubles, adding that it would be a dream come true if he got to do so alongside his long-time friend Rafael Nadal.
The former World No. 1 touched on the response he has received from his fans and media on his retirement news, stating that it has been wonderful to hear so many positive messages.
“Maybe I can play doubles with Rafa, that would be an absolute dream. It’s nice that the reporting was so positive, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “So far the echo has been wonderful.”
Federer also revealed during the interview that he informed his close friends beforehand about his retirement, commenting that he told them that it was okay to tell the press about the decision if they were probed about it.
“I wanted to tell my closest circle shortly beforehand – so about 48 hours before the button was pressed. I wanted to keep this circle small so as not to burden my friends,” he said. “You were always asked about me. And I didn’t want them to lie.”
When asked what he was most proud of about his 24-year career, the 20-time Grand Slam champion declared that it was the many opportunities he had to compete in front of his fans for so long.
“That I was allowed to play at such a level for so long and have so many fans,” he said. “During Corona I saw what it was like to play in front of empty stands in Paris. Having the audience behind me in full stadiums will be missed.”
The former World No. 1 weighed in on his years of success, saying that he enjoyed traveling around the world and meeting interesting people even if it meant he had to sacrifice a lot to get there. Federer further added that he had always been a realist at heart, constantly pushing himself to improve even when he was ranked World No. 1.
“You hope to be top one day and you do everything for it. You have to give a lot, give up a lot. I was able to travel around the world and meet interesting people and cultures,” Federer said. “It was always important for me to be realistic. I said to myself: ‘I’m good, but I still have to improve. I’m the world number 1, but that doesn’t suit me.'”
“If I had been a bit more professional when I was younger, I might have been more successful” – Roger Federer
Roger Federer wished he had been more professional during his younger years, wondering if he could have been even more successful had that been the case.
At the same time, the Swiss legend was of the opinion that it could have led to him becoming burnt out much sooner and was glad that he went about his career in the way that he did.
“Of course, there are also smaller things, but I can’t think of any examples. I see it as an absolute dream career, had a relaxed childhood,” Federer said. “If I had been a bit more professional when I was younger, I might have been more successful. But then I might have burned out earlier because it would have been too serious for me.”