“I’m having a hard time quitting” – Federer gives huge reveal on retirement
Former World number one Roger Federer has recently said the perfect end to his career “doesn’t exist for him” as he looks to make a return from injury.
Federer has been out since July after suffering a setback with his knee following his surgery in 2020. The injury ruled him out of two ATP Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, as well as representing Switzerland at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Swiss is hoping to make a return from his injury in the upcoming months, with renowned coach and ESPN analyst Darren Cahill believing Federer is “apparently playing” at the 2022 Australian Open.
In an interview with Swiss Ringier Magazine, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer outlined the early stages of his career and how he learnt to deal with bad habits, his wife Miroslava Federer’s (formerly Vavrincová) retirement, receiving Swiss recognition and his potential retirement.
The 40-year-old Federer was asked about the best possible end to his illustrious past, to which Federer replied “that doesn’t exist for me! I’m having a hard time quitting. But I’m not scared.
“There is no perfect moment for retirement. I wish I could choose by myself. I am sure I will know, when the moment has come. It will be a smooth transition.
“I am not afraid of the time after my professional career. It will be a smooth transition. Mirka (his wife, Miroslava) and I managed the life balance between tennis, family and friends incredibly well. That is what almost makes me most proud. Because what is ultimately really important in life?”
His wife Miroslava retired in 2002 due to persistent issues with her foot and Federer recalls how they both handled her injury and retirement.
“She had this injury on her foot. At that time I said to her: ‘just stop! Why the stress?’ Really cool. As if it were the easiest decision in the world.” Federer joked.
“Today I think: Am I crazy? I still play tournaments myself at 40 and find it difficult to quit!”
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When asked about how he reacted and dealt with defeats at a young age, Federer said “I was always extremely sad after a loss. Sometimes I howled all the way home to Basel!
“I was a spirited boy and liked to show emotions. But the outbursts of anger only took place on the tennis court. My family, my friends have told me that I am acting impossible. ‘Don’t be so stupid!’ They said. And ‘there are also others who can play well’.”
“I knew: I cannot and will no longer behave like before. I am speaking of my basic negative attitude. This constant wailing, this lamenting, that had to stop. This way you don’t win games and certainly not a tournament! I knew I had to make a change. An inner change.”
The Swiss number one developed a way of managing his emotions with a towel trick. Federer would run to a Tüechli, a coloured square towel, to release his emotions for three seconds.
“How can I just ignore a bad point? One trick that helped me a lot was the one with the towel. A baby has a cosy blanket or a cuddly bear. My coach said I needed something like that. Something that helps me to withdraw into my world for a brief moment.
“From now on it was said: ‘You can get excited for three seconds’. Then you run to the Tüechli (coloured square towel). Then this is the moment all for you.
“Very easy. But very effective. For me it has become a ritual. Lost point, first reflex – towel. But later it was also because of all the sweating.”
Federer has claimed that it took three Wimbledon titles for the Swiss people to recognise his achievements, believing the recognition was often better abroad.
“That is perhaps a bit exaggerated, but it took three Wimbledon victories for the people here to realize: ‘Hey, it’s really good!’ Sometimes it’s a shame when the euphoria is greater abroad than at home.
“I am very lucky that I grew up in Switzerland and that I can still live this normality here today. That made me who I am today.”
“I hope I will be remembered as a casual, cool, good tennis player. And as a person, I hope that I was able to set an example that, even if you are successful, you can treat people with decency, attitude and fairness.”
Federer has had four children, Myla and Charlene, both aged 12 and Leo and Lenny, both aged seven. Federer described looking after four children whilst touring as a massive task.
“Traveling with the whole family is not ideal in many ways. And then the girls were born. Twins! That gave us an unbelievable horror. I really thought we weren’t going to get that straight. I am really proud that we made it. But it is a Herculean task!”
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