Roger Federer admits he knew after Wimbledon that it was time to call it a day as he described his match against Hubert Hurkacz last year as “one of the worst hours of my career”.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has struggled with a knee injury for more than three years and he confirmed last week that he will retire after this week’s Laver Cup in London.
His last match on Tour was a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Pole Hurkacz at the grass-court Grand Slam at SW19 last year and, after initially setting his sights on a comeback during the second half of this campaign, he admitted it was a lost cause.
He posted an emotional letter to announce his decision to hang up his racket for good, but after initially struggling to pen his thoughts, he feels a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
“Tony (Godsick) [Federer’s agent] almost went crazy because I took so much time,” the former world No 1 said.
“Since it’s out, I’m better. Writing the letter took a lot of energy. It was very moving, especially for my parents and [my wife] Mirka.
“In the meantime I can talk about the resignation easily, I didn’t expect that.
“A few days after Wimbledon, in July. The knee just wasn’t progressing anymore. I asked myself: what’s the point? We had been on thin ice for a long time. I know it’s the right decision, the only good decision.
“I am quite surprised how well I am playing in practice here. But it was already clear beforehand that I would only play doubles, probably on Friday evening. That’s why playing the Swiss Indoors in Basel was no longer an option.
“It was tough, the whole comeback was extremely difficult. I was so far from 100 percent. Reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon was unbelievable for me. The last set against [Hurbert] Hurkacz was one of the worst hours of my career.”
Federer will team up with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas for Team Europe in the Laver Cup at London’s O2 Arena this weekend.
In a social media update he confirmed he will play one more match.
“Hey everybody, just want to give a quick update about how everything is,” the tennis icon said.
“Number one, a huge thank you for all the wonderful messages I have received over the last few days, it has been clearly very, very emotional, but good.
“I am happy to be in London and it’s been wonderful to be surrounded by close family, Mirka, the kiddies and my team as well.
“I feel very happy that the message was so well received. Your messages have been incredible, it means a lot to me.
“I getting ready, I am practicing and feeling really good. Can’t believe I am back on a tennis court and trying to get ready for one more match.”
He is likely to play doubles in the Friday session, and also revealed he would like one final Fedal reunion as he hopes to partner Nadal.
“Maybe I can play doubles with Rafa, that would be an absolute dream,” he said.
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