The Swiss legend who has won 20 grand slams shared that being in good physical and mental health would make for an ideal ending to his tennis career.
“I think finishing healthy, you know. I hope it doesn’t end with an injury,” Federer told CNN sports in an exclusive interview.
“I had a little bit of that threat a few years ago when I had the knee issue and was able to come back again. So I’d like to go out on my terms.”
Federer suffered a knee injury in 2016 and had to undergo surgery. Back in 2013, he was suffering from severe back injuries and struggled to play throughout the year.
“I don’t have the fairytale ending in my head saying there has to be another title somewhere, and then I have to announce it big and say, ‘that was it, by the way, guys,'” he told CNN. “I don’t have to have it that way.
“If I wanted it that way, I could’ve maybe said it after the Australian Open [in 2017] when I beat Rafa [Rafael Nadal] in that epic final. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get better than that, because that was it for me,” he added.
He acknowledged that there is some pressure for athletes to retire in a grand fashion but said that he didn’t have the same view on the matter.
“I think the expectations for the media’s really like has to all end so perfectly,” he said. “I just think as long as I’m healthy and I’m enjoying myself at the very end, I know it’s gonna be emotional anyway.
“I’m an emotional person so I just hope, I can always do something nice to tie back into the foundation to be quite honest and to do some exhibitions down the road, you know … to say goodbye to certain places as well.”
The tennis champion wishes that his future departure would be “a happy celebration day.”
“I always think … it should be happy because that’s what I say all to all the guys who have retired in the last years you know, ‘Congratulations. You should be so happy and everything.’ Don’t be like … sad for him.
“I know, sure, he will miss it a little bit but it should be a happy celebration day, not a sad funeral-type of day.
“I hope it’s not going to be that for me. I don’t want it that way,” he said in the interview.
Federer shared on Jan. 12 that he will play for as long as possible.
“I have a lot of passion for this sport. I love playing tennis—always have,” he said, according to AAP. “I’ve always tried to remind myself that this was my dream to become a tennis player, not that it became a job as such and that’s why I think I’m able to show so much enthusiasm for tennis.”
Federer is set to play against Denis Istomin on Jan. 14.
Looming Andy Murray Retirement
Andy Murray wept at a media conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 11 as he shared that he had initially planned to quit tennis after playing this year’s Wimbledon tournament but now felt that he may retire after the Australian Open.
The three-time Grand Slam champion said there was a chance he wouldn’t make it beyond the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 14, due to severe pain on his right hip.
“I’m not feeling good. I’ve obviously been struggling for a long time,” the 31-year-old said, according to AAP.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now.
“I’m going to play, I can still play to a level, [although] not a level that I’m happy playing at. But it’s not just that—the pain is too much really.
“I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much everything to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”
Murray has been drawn to play 22nd seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the grand slam that starts on on Jan. 14.
“I know I’ve got no chance of winning this tournament and most likely I’m going to lose in the first round,” Murray told journalists, AAP reported.
“I’m not happy about that. It’s going to be uncomfortable.
“If it is my last match, I want to try and enjoy it, enjoy the whole experience which is maybe something during my career that I’ve not done.
“I’ve always been focused on tactics and winning and finding a way.”