ROGER FEDERER NEWS
Federer bid adieu Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that spanned nearly a quarter-century and included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman's role. He wrapped up his days as a professional player with a loss in doubles alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.
The truth is that the victors, the statistics and the score (OK, for the record it was 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9) did not matter, and were all so entirely beside the point. The occasion was, after all, about the farewell itself. Or, better, the farewells, plural: Federer's to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities' farewells to Federer.
"It's been a perfect journey," Federer said. "I would do it all over again."
When the match and, with it, his time in professional tennis ended, Roger hugged Rafa, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then he began crying. There were plenty of tears to go around; Nadal wiped his own away, too.
"When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving, too," said Nadal, 36, who used the words "sad" and "unforgettable" to describe the occasion.
As cascades of clapping and yells of affection came from the stands, Federer put his hands on his hips, his chest heaving. Then he mouthed, "Thank you," while applauding right back toward the spectators who had chanted, "Let's go, Roger! Let's go!" during the concluding moments of a match that lasted more than two hours and ended at about 12:30 a.m.
Mirka, their four children and Roger's parents joined him on the court afterward for embraces and, yes, more bawling. Members of both teams joined together to hoist Federer up in the air.
"It's been a wonderful day. I told the guys I'm happy; I'm not sad," Federer said. "I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time." "For me, just personally, [it was] sad in the first moment, when I came to the conclusion it's the best decision," Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press this week about his emotions when realizing it was time to go. "I kind of held it in at first, then fought it off. But I could feel the pain."
He had said he wanted this to feel more like a party than a funeral, and the crowd obliged, rising for a loud and lengthy standing ovation when Federer and Nadal -- each wearing a white bandanna, blue shirt and white shorts -- emerged together from a tunnel leading out to the black court for the last match on Day 1 at the O2 Arena. They remained on their feet for nearly 10 minutes, through the pre-match warmup, holding aloft phone cameras to capture the moment.
They came ready to roar for him, some with Swiss flags, some with homemade signs ("Idol Forever" read one), and they made themselves heard with a wall of sound when Federer delivered a forehand volley winner on the match's second point. Similar reactions arrived merely at the chair umpire's announcement before the third game of "Roger Federer to serve," and again when he closed that game with a 117 mph service winner.
"Honestly," he said, acknowledging that leading into the match there were the sorts of nerves he'd get before a Grand Slam final, "I was so surprised how well I was able to play tonight."
Roger vs. Rafa -- just one name apiece required -- belongs up there with McEnroe vs. Borg (as it happens, the two Laver Cup team captains, John and Bjorn), Evert vs. Navratilova, Sampras vs. Agassi, Ali vs. Frazier, Magic vs. Bird, Brady vs. Manning, and so on.
Over the years, Federer and Nadal showed off individual greatness and compelling contrasts across their 40 matches, 14 at Grand Slam tournaments, nine in major finals: righty vs. lefty, attacker vs. grinder, seeming effortlessness vs. relentless intensity.
And yet, there was an unmistakable element of poetry with these two men who challenged each other and elevated each other performing as partners, slapping palms and sharing smiles.
The last hurrah came after a total of 103 career singles trophies and 1,251 wins in singles matches for Federer, both second only to Jimmy Connors in the Open era, which began in 1968. At the height of his powers, he appeared in a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals, winning eight, from 2005 to 2007. Extend that to 2010, and he reached 18 of 19 major finals.
More than those numbers, folks will remember the powerful forehand, the one-handed backhand, the flawless footwork, the spectacularly effective serve and eagerness to get to the net, the willingness to reinvent aspects of his game and -- the part of which he's proudest -- the unusual longevity. Beyond the elegance and effectiveness while wielding a racket, Federer's persona made him an ambassador for tennis, someone whose immense popularity helped attract fans.
"This is not the end-end, you know. Life goes on. I'm healthy, I'm happy, everything's great," Federer said, "and this is just a moment in time."
Of all the gifts that tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, has been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors, and most of all the fans who give the sport its life. Today, I want to share some news with all of you.
As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.
The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.
This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me. But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.
I would like to especially thank my amazing wife Mirka, who has lived through every minute with me. She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches even while over 8-months pregnant, and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years. I also want to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always eager to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way. Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.
I would also like to thank and recognize my loving parents and my dear sister, without whom nothing would be possible. A big thank you to all my former coaches who always guided me in the right direction…you have been wonderful! And to Swiss Tennis, who believed in me as a young player and gave me an ideal start.
I really want to thank and acknowledge my amazing team, Ivan, Dani, Roland, and particularly Seve and Pierre, who have given me the best advice and have always been there for me. Also Tony, for creatively managing my business for over 17 years. You are all incredible and I have loved every minute with you.
I want to thank my loyal sponsors, who are really like partners to me; and the hard-working teams and tournaments on the ATP Tour, who consistently welcomed all of us with kindness and hospitality.
I would also like to thank my competitors on the court. I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget. We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.
Above all I must offer a special thank you to my unbelievable fans. You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me. The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.
The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure. While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and magical that it seems as if I’ve already lived a full lifetime. I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive. Through my travels, I have met many wonderful people who will remain friends for life, who consistently took time out of their busy schedules to come watch me play and cheer me on around the globe. Thank you.
When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder. They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself. Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.
So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true.
Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.
April 27, 2022
After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the Swiss Indoors Basel will return to the ATP Tour in the fall of 2022. 10-time singles champion and hometown hero, Roger Federer, has announced his comeback to the stadium at St. Jakobshalle. The Swiss all-time great has confirmed his initial agenda will include the Laver Cup in London followed by the Swiss Indoors in Basel.
Roger Federer has officially entered the tournament and will appear on the entry list with the protected ATP ranking number 9. He will play his opening match on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. After getting through the first round, the next match will be on Thursday, October 27, 2022. The worldwide interest in the return of the hometown hero and 20-time Grand Slam Champion to the ATP Tour is expected to be tremendous and we all will patiently be awaiting his return!
You can now ride on the Federer Express!
The official ambassador of Swiss tourism, Roger Federer, was celebrated in Basel, Switzerland this week as a tram was named after him. The Federer Express tram celebrates the 20-time Grand Slam winner with photos of some of his most iconic moments sprawled on the outside, while the inside features facts and information about the Swiss Star and some of the seats are reminiscent of chairs that can be found on the side of a court during a changeover.
"The project was very important to me. That is why it is a great honor for me to be able to see the tram on the streets of Basel in the future," said Roger.
July 7, 2021 -- London, UK
Roger's attempt at another Wimbledon title ended in his Quarterfinal matchup against the up and coming Polish player, Hubert Hurkacz. The 8-time Champion was over powered by the big hitting 14th seed and lost in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0.
After the match, the 39-year old Swiss star said, “I’m actually very happy I made it as far as I did here and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did after everything I went through. Of course I would like to play it again, but at my age you’re just never sure what’s around the corner.”
Roger will touch base with his team and decide what is next for him in 2021.