Roger Federer closes the curtain on his illustrious career later this week, but the Swiss maestro has assured his millions of fans that he will not become a tennis ghost.
Back in London, downriver from where he won eight Wimbledon titles, a record 41-year-old, the 41-year-old said he had no intention of stepping 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 at times got emotional as he explained his decision to hang up his rackets.
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Asked what his plans were for the future, Federer said he would not disappear like the great Swede Bjorn Borg, who is captaining Europe against the rest of the world this week.
“I just wanted the fans to know I won’t be a ghost. It’s funny, I talked about Bjorn Borg, he hasn’t come back to Wimbledon for 25 years and that hurts all the fans,” Federer said of the 11 times. great winner who abandoned tennis at age 26.
“But I don’t think I’ll be that guy. I feel like tennis has given me a lot. I’ve been in the game for a long time. I’ve fallen in love with a lot of things.
“You’ll see me again. In what capacity, I don’t know. I still have to think about it, give me some time.”
Federer announced last Thursday that the Laver Cup, the team event he helped create, would be the final act in a professional career spanning nearly a quarter of a century.
Not playing competitively since last year’s Wimbledon quarter-final defeat, Federer will make his final match in a doubles match, possibly alongside great rival Rafa Nadal.
Federer still had hope of returning, but said his knee problems finally forced him to retire.
“My knee doesn’t allow me to play at this level anymore,” he said.
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“I noticed this all summer and so I was looking for a place in time where I could call him.
“It was very fitting for me to end my career here. Having Bjorn Borg on the bench with me when I leave will be something beyond cool and I felt it was a really good thing. Having a team behind me wouldn’t feel so alone either when I’m ending the season. day.”
Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles were surpassed by Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in an unprecedented golden age for men’s tennis. But whatever the stats, many still consider him the greatest player of all time to wield a racket.
He won 103 career titles, second only to Jimmy Connors, and spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at world number one from 2004 to 2008.
His first Grand Slam title came in 2003 when he defeated Mark Philippoussis to win Wimbledon and won it five years in a row before losing to Nadal in a 2008 derby.
“This city has been special to me, perhaps the most special place,” Federer said.