Roger Federer has admitted he was hurried into announcing his decision to retire after being reliably informed the news was set to be leaked.
Federer, universally considered one of the greatest players in the sport’s history, will retire from tennis after the Laver Cup in London this month. The 41-year-old, who won his first Wimbledon title back in 2003, has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had a third knee operation.
Federer has struggled with a knee problem for the past three years that has restricted him to only three of the 11 Grand Slams staged since the start of 2020. It means news of his impending retirement does not come as a great surprise and he is set to walk away from tennis with 20 Grand Slam titles to his name.
Usually calm and collected, Federer admitted he was forced to rush into his decision after he was told the retirement decision was to be broadcast prematurely. The Swiss star announced his decision on social media after desperately conjuring up a statement last Thursday,
“You try to keep those moments private and hope there are no leaks,” Federer told BBC Sport. “But apparently there were leaks in the morning of the announcement so we scrambled to announce it earlier than it was supposed to be.”
The eight-time Wimbledon champion knew it was the right time, adding: “It’s been an emotional few weeks to go through those words to try to get them right, that they reflect how I’m feeling and thanking all the people who have helped along the way.
“I always pushed my retirement thoughts away. I said, the more I think about it, the more I’m already halfway retired and this is not the way to go to work, you know, for me as a tennis player, so we’ll deal with it when it comes. And it did. And I dealt with it.”
Federer spent 310 weeks as world number one – including a record 237-week consecutive stint – and won 103 ATP singles titles. He has picked the annual Laver Cup event as his last appearance in professional tennis before he calls time on his illustrious career.
The 2022 edition of the Laver Cup will pit some of tennis’ greatest players alongside one another for Team Europe against Team World. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Nadal are scheduled to work together as Europe attempt to retain the silverware.
Matteo Berrettini – the 2021 Wimbledon finalist – has been drafted in as an on-site reserve for Team Europe, who will play Team World in the three-day event, which starts on Friday. Team World will be made up of Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Frances Tiafoe, Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock.