Roger Federer brings down 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, down river from where he won a record eight Wimbledon titles, the 41-year-old said he had no intention of walking 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 was emotional at times as he explained the decision to hang up his rackets.
Asked what his plans were for the future, Federer said he would not disappear like Swedish great Bjorn Borg, who is captaining Europe against the Rest of the World this week.
“I just wanted to let the fans know I won’t be a ghost. It’s funny, I spoke about Bjorn Borg, he didn’t return to Wimbledon for 25 years and that hurts every fan,” Federer said of the 11-time major winner who quit tennis aged 26.
“But I don’t think I’ll be that guy. I feel tennis has given me too much. I have been around the game for too long. Have fallen in love with too many things.
“You’ll see me again. In what capacity, I don’t know. Still have to think about it a little bit, give myself some time.”
Federer announced last Thursday that the Laver Cup, the team event he helped create, would be the last act of a professional career spanning almost a quarter of a century.
Elaborating on his decision to retire from competitive action, Federer described the last few months as stressful, saying he was not willing to “risk it all” by having more surgery on his troublesome right knee.
“At some point you sit down and go, ‘okay, we are at an intersection here, at a crossroads, and you have to take a turn, and which way is it?’
“I was not willing to go into that direction of let’s risk it all. The hardest part after that is when you realise, okay, this is the end.”
Federer has not played a match since losing in the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals and is not in shape to play singles at the Laver Cup. He hopes to bow out in a doubles tie, preferably alongside great rival Rafa Nadal.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but it could obviously be a special moment,” he said.
His first Grand Slam title was in 2003 when he beat Mark Philippoussis to win the first of five successive Wimbledon titles before losing to Nadal in a 2008 classic.
“Maybe the most special place,” he said of London. “I came to realise that throughout the summer and then I was just looking for a place in time where I could call it.
“It felt fitting to end my career here. Having Bjorn on the bench with me when I walk out is going to be something that is beyond cool. Having a team behind me as well would not feel so lonely when I’m calling it a day.”
Federer’s 20 Grand slam titles has been surpassed by Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in an unprecedented golden era for men’s tennis. But whatever the statistics, many still regard him as the greatest player ever to wield a racket.
He claimed 103 career titles, second only to Jimmy Connors, and spent a record 237 consecutive weeks as world number one from 2004 to 2008.
“Everybody has to leave the game, it’s been a great, great journey,” he said.
England and Germany sign off with 3-3 Nations League thriller – ARN News Centre
England will head to the World Cup on the back of a six-match winless sequence but with at least some pride and confidence restored after a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Germany in the Nations League on Monday.
Gareth Southgate’s listless side trailed 2-0 to Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty and a superb effort by Kai Havertz with less than 20 minutes remaining and boos beginning to resound at Wembley in their final Group A3 match.
But they responded in thrilling fashion with goals by Luke Shaw and Mason Mount in the space of four minutes drawing them level — England’s first goals from open play in 5-1/2 competitive matches.
Harry Kane’s 83rd minute penalty then appeared to have given Southgate’s side a morale-boosting victory.
But four-time world champions Germany, themselves in a poor run of form heading to Qatar, salvaged a point as Havertz capitalised on a goalkeeping error by Nick Pope in the 87th.
— England (@England) September 26, 2022
Substitute Bukayo Saka almost won it for England late on as the fans were left scratching their heads at why the hosts had taken so long to play with any freedom.
England finished bottom of the group with three points behind Germany on seven, Hungary with 10 and Italy, who topped the group on 11 points to reach the Nations League final four.
It is more than 100 years since England last went six competitive games winless but they at least changed the narrative with a stirring fightback against Germany.
“The boys have been under pressure with recent results and we all came out here with a point to prove,” Kane said.
“There are lessons we can still learn from the mistakes we made but we scored three goals and I feel like this will put us in a positive mindset ahead of the World Cup.”
Both sides needed a pre-World Cup tonic after poor Nations League campaigns with England suffering the ignominy of relegation after losing 1-0 away to Italylast Friday, the same night Germany lost by the same scoreline at home to Hungary.
The last time the two heavyweights met at Wembley, in the Euro 2020 finals, England won 2-0 and were riding a wave of euphoria. But the mood has turned sour mainly because of a woeful lack of goals — Kane’s late penalty in Germany being their only goal in their previous five Nations League games.
A lacklustre first half underlined England’s lack of creativity although Raheem Sterling had two chances – first when he was played in by Shaw to force a fine save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and then shooting tamely from a good position.
Germany were equally bereft of attacking spark but were gifted an early chance when Pope’s nervy clearance was charged down and Gundogan curled the ball over the bar.
Germany manager Hansi Flick sent on forward Timo Werner to partner his former Chelsea team mate Havertz for the second half and the visitors went ahead in the 52nd minute with a goal that summed up England defender Harry Maguire’s recent woes.
Having given the ball away to Jamal Musiala, Maguire tried to win it back but hacked down Musiala and a penalty was eventually awarded after a VAR intervention.
Gundogan coolly slid the spot kick into the corner and it soon got even worse for England when Werner found Havertz after a counter-attack and he curled a beauty past Pope.
With the crowd grumbling, Southgate’s side needed a quick response and got it in incredible fashion.
First Shaw was found at the back post by a Reece James cross and squeezed his shot through Ter Stegen’s legs.
Then, like London buses, another goal arrived.
Saka dribbled in from the right and played the ball to fellow substitute Mount who smashed an instant shot into the net from the edge of the area.
When Bellingham was crudely hacked down by Nico Schlotterbeck and Kane smashed his spot kick high past Ter Stegen England fans were in party mode.
But Havertz sobered things up by capitalising on a late gift as keeper Pope fumbled Serge Gnabry’s shot.
Tennis legends on their way to Dubai – ARN News Centre
Following Team Lendl’s victory in August 2022 during the Croatian stage of Legends Team Cup-ATP Champions Tour, the finals of this exciting first edition are finally imminent.
The remarkable captains – Ivan Lendl and Pat Cash – and world class players – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marcos Baghdatis, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Tommy Haas, Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek – are coming to Dubai to play from November 9-12.
The venue is a custom-built arena in Dubai Harbour that will welcome around 3,000 spectators per day with 500 VIP seats to fully immerse oneself in the glamorous atmosphere.
The Centre Court will be surrounded by superyachts, allowing yacht owners to have access to the absolute best tennis and maritime experience.
Legends Team Cup will significantly strengthen Dubai’s efforts to boost sports tourism and further enhance its position as an international events destination.
To further symbolise the long-term collaboration with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Harbour and UAE Tennis Federation, Legends Team Cup-ATP Champions Tour has been subtitled “The Route to Dubai”.
Which means, every annual final of this exciting series of team competitions will be hosted in Dubai, crowning the perfect combination of luxury, spectacular venues and sport entertainment.