(September 21, 2022) Ahead of the Laver Cup competition, Roger Federer held a media conference on Wednesday in London.
NICOLA ARZANI: We all know why we are here. We
are not going to make an introduction, but please keep to
one question at a time so we can have as many people
Q. Congratulations. Roger, what do you think Reto
Schmidli, to whom you lost your first junior match
6-Love, 6-Love, would make of your career? And
what would Peter Carter be saying today?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, I think any junior that
probably played against me back in the day, we would
have never thought that I was going to be sitting here at
41 having my final press conference and looking back at
all the many moments and matches that I played.
It’s not just for one person. I think I could speak for
almost any junior — national, international, local —
because you do not think that far. You know, when you
have a vision of being a champion you see yourself
winning one tournament or maybe becoming World No. 1
but not many, many times in a row and staying there for
as long as I did. That was definitely very special.
Look, with Peter, obviously it’s so unfortunate that he
didn’t see me get into the top of the ranking and seeing
so many of my most incredible victories, but at the same
time, he was instrumental to my game, to my personality.
He was not just a bigger brother but also a mentor and a
If I played the way I played with my technique, it’s
probably a lot to do with him. Then after that, all the
other coaches that came along.
I have been so fortunate to have the right coaches at the
right time. I felt I learned from each and every one a lot.
It’s been a great career.
Q. Could you update us on sort of what your playing
possibilities and plans here are today? If you do
only play doubles, how will that kind of sit within the
rules of the competition?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that was my concern as well
a little bit going in. Of course this is an event, an ATP same time, I know my limitations.
This is why I asked Bjorn if it was okay if I play maybe
just one doubles, and I guess that one would have to be
on Friday night. Then I guess Matteo would come in for
me and have to play on Saturday for me.
Bjorn said obviously, Of course, that’s totally fine. Bjorn
spoke to John, as well. They spoke to the tournament
and the ATP if that was okay and everybody said that
So here I am trying to prepare for one last doubles, and
we’ll see with who it is. I’m obviously, I don’t know, I’m
nervous going in because I haven’t played in so long. I
hope I can be somewhat competitive.
Q. There has been a lot more openness in the last
few years about mental health in sport and in tennis
as well. Wonder if you could share the mental strain
that both the injury and then your decision about the
retirement has had on you.
ROGER FEDERER: Rehab was easy. Sure, there’s ups
and downs, and sometimes you’re a little frustrated. But
for the most part I enjoyed being home. I have been on
the road for so long. So no issues there.
I get scared going into surgeries, because I know it could
mean the end of my career. So that has always been, I
guess, the most emotional and most scary moment for
me before I go under.
Yeah, I mean, things are different nowadays with the
pressure that the players feel. No need to feel sorry for
us, but we have to deal with it one way or another. It’s
definitely not always easy, but I feel like for the most part
I made it work, had a great team around me. I guess
because it didn’t change very often I had a really good,
solid base. I knew I could always speak openly to
everybody and everybody would tell me their honest
opinion. I think that kept me grounded and kept me
Q. Could you take us through a little bit the process
that led to this decision, how it came about, and what
made you decide finally that this would be the end of
your playing career? I’d also like to ask, you used
the word “bittersweet” in your farewell note. What to
you is the most bitter part of this and what’s the
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I guess there was a
certain process that started at the beginning of the
summer, you know, where you try to go to the next level
in training, and I could feel it was getting difficult. So
obviously at that point I knew any hiccup, any setback,
for that matter, was going to be the one potentially.
That you’re going to have harder moments or where you
push too hard and you have to pull back a little bit, it’s
normal in rehab because you always have to stay in that
corridor of doing enough but not too much. I really like
that challenge, because I really have to be in tune with
my body and with my team of understanding how far can
Then I think over the course of a few weeks and months
there, we just have to really be careful and almost to a
certain level too careful. Then I guess I was also getting
more tired because you have to put in more effort into it
to be able to sort of believe that it was going to turn
around. You start getting too pessimistic.
Then I also got a scan back which wasn’t what I wanted it
to be. At some point you sit down and go, Okay, we are
at an intersection here, at a crossroad, and you have to
take a turn. Which way is it?
I was not willing to go into the direction of let’s risk it all.
I’m not ready for that. I always said that was never my
goal. I can’t believe, if I look back at the last few years
that I went through, the surgeries that I had to go
through, for me it was always clear that I was going to
end my career with no surgeries. You know, before 2016
and even ’16 was a tough year getting back from it.
Any suggestions there from my side would be don’t have
surgery if you don’t have to and just take the necessary
time to come back, because it is brutal. I think tennis is a
tough sport to bounce back into, because you have to be
able to play long matches, five matches in a row every
week, different continents, different surfaces. There is no
substitute for you. Obviously mentally you need to know
you have to be able to get all the way back there, and it’s
Then maybe the hardest part after that one point, of
course you’re sad in the very moment when you realize,
okay, this is the end. I sort of ignored it for a little bit
almost, because I went on vacation and just said, Okay,
this is it. This moment came shortly after I was at
Wimbledon where I still truly actually believed there was
going to be a chance for me to come back the next year.
At what capacity, I didn’t know, but I thought it might be
Then on vacation, funnily enough, I didn’t speak to
anybody about it other than my team, my parents, Mirka.
We knew. Other than that, nobody really knew, and it
was perfect like this. Didn’t talk about it. Just hanging
with friends and other families. It was wonderful.
I only then at one point when I returned from vacation I
really started to discuss the details of, okay, where,
when, how, what. Honestly this period was quite
stressful getting the letter right, the wording right, using
words like “bittersweet.”
The bitterness, you always want to play forever. I love
being out on court, I love playing against the guys, I love
traveling. I never really felt like it was that hard for me to
do, of winning, learn from losing, it was all perfect. I love
my career from every angle. That’s the bitter part.
The sweet part was that I know everybody has to do it at
one point. Everybody has to leave the game. It’s been a
great, great journey. For that, I’m really grateful, yeah.
Q. We read a lot, have seen a lot of people listen to
your career highlights these past few days. From
your personal point of view, having had a chance to
reflect, what would be some of your sweetest and
best moments, memories, whether it’s titles, finals,
matches, or just reaching your best level?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it’s funny. I haven’t really
gone into deep-diving thinking about what are those
moments. You know, top of my head, obviously you
think about first Wimbledon, the match with Sampras at
Wimbledon, the 2017 comeback, winning Australia, ’09
But I know there is a lot of different little nuggets as you
go along with and could be something as sweet as
maybe a quarterfinal at a 500 maybe that I learned
something from. Who knows what it was.
You know, I’m sure that I have to really go back to the
memory bank and thinking, okay, where were moments
that meant a lot to me?
Sometimes very often there were probably off-the-court
conversations with team or meeting somebody. I can’t
give you a specific example. But I’m fortunate that I can
almost pick and choose which moments were the best
because there were so many. Again, was very fortunate
to go through so many.
Q. On a similar theme, how do you hope that people
will remember you? When you look back on your
career, not necessarily talking about individual
Grand Slam triumphs, but what are you most proud
of the way you played the game and with the way
your career has unfolded?
ROGER FEDERER: That’s a good question. I think, and
I mentioned this in interviews in the past maybe, and this
is maybe an appropriate time to say this again, is the
longevity for me. I was famous for being quite erratic at
the beginning of my career. If you maybe remember,
I was famous for being not so consistent, you know, and
then to become one of the most consistent players ever
is quite a shock to me, as well.
That has been I think a great accomplishment for me
personally that people can judge, if they think that’s the
case too, but for me, that is something I have really
enjoyed and that I have been able to stay at the top for
so long and compete for any tournament I would enter
and really go out there and say, like, I hope I can win the
tournament for, I don’t know, let’s say 15-plus years.
That has been a privilege, sitting at the press conference
and being able to say that and not just saying, Oh,
quarters would be great. Those were the first few years
of my career. But it was for so long of course that I also
almost got used to it.
But I think looking back that has a special meaning to me
because I always looked to the Michael Schumachers,
Tiger Woods, all the other guys that stayed for so long at
the top that I didn’t understand how they did it. Next
thing you know, you’re part of that group, and it’s been a
Q. What do you think you’ll miss the most?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it’s how it goes in life. I don’t
want to say love-hate, but the things you will miss, you
are happy you’re not having to do them again. I love
tying my shoes, getting ready, putting the bandanna on, I
look in the mirror, Are we ready for this? Yeah, okay,
As much as I love it, I’m happy I don’t have to go through
it again. Having those knots in my tummy, waiting all
day, eating breakfast, thinking about, okay, tonight, I’ve
got another big match. Oh, I’ve got another 15 hours to
wait for it.
It’s fun but it’s stressful, and it’s slow days there. A tennis
player waits a lot, wait for the moment for us to go out
and entertain the people and do it again.
Of course I’ll miss a lot of things, the little moments, you
know, after matches when it’s all said and done, and the
weight drops and you can go for a nice dinner with your
friends and team and talk about other things, you know,
than just about tennis.
There are so many things I will miss. But of course the
fans are at the center of everything, because I lived
through the COVID times as well, like we all did, and it
wasn’t fun. It wasn’t great. I didn’t like it. I always
thought back if we didn’t have the fans, it would have
taken away probably over 80% of my emotions, of my
feelings of what it would have meant.
I will miss that, you know, just every interaction on the
court, off the court, running into people, I don’t know where.
Okay, that will probably still happen sometimes,
but not at events as much anymore, signing autographs,
even though some you have to sign again. There is
those little interactions, and I know these people came
from a faraway place, spent a lot of money, took time off
from their vacation or from work and come watch me
play. I mean, I’ll miss that.
Q. You mentioned that you haven’t decided who
your doubles partner might be. I suppose a lot of
fans are hoping that you might play with Rafa
because it’s the oldest of your rivalries. Would that
be something that would appeal to you?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course. No doubt. I mean, I
think it could be quite, I don’t know, a unique situation,
you know, that if it were to happen for as long as we
battled together to having always this respect for one
another, the families, our coaching teams, we always got
along really well.
For us as well to go through a career that we both have
had and to come out on the other side and being able to
have a nice relationship I think is maybe a great
message as well to not just tennis but sports and maybe
even beyond. For that reason I think it would be great.
I don’t know if it’s gonna happen, but I think it could be
obviously a special moment.
Q. From watching all your interviews over the last
day or so and reading everything you said and again
today, seems like you’re handling it all very well and
you accepted it. Are you surprised how well you
accepted it, given all your achievements on the
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I was in a very, I guess,
worried, scared place to face the music, the media, the
fans, and everything, being able to talk about it in a
normal fashion without getting emotional, just because I
know how much it means to me.
But I feel like I probably went through a lot of different
stages. I don’t know if you can call it grieving, you know,
and then you get to I really don’t want it to be a funeral. I
want it to be really happy and powerful and party mode,
rather than the other side.
That, for me, was the first thing. I said if I retire and
wherever I announce it, it has to feel like it’s going to be
fun, and not everybody, Oh, I’m so sorry, are you okay?
No, no, I’m okay, but I’m going to be happy.
For that reason, I think that was also the part where I
talked about didn’t want to think about it, because I was
not ready in my picture, seeing myself speak on a tennis
court was impossible at that moment. I think going
through that has helped me a lot that I can be here today.
Q. How do you feel when you see World No. 1 Carlos
Alcaraz has said you have been his idol during his
childhood, and he’s very sad that he’s never going to
be able to play a competitive match against you?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, of course, it’s disappointing I
was never able to play against him. Of course I watched
him closely what he did at the US Open and throughout
the year. It’s been fantastic, and I always said there will
be always new superstars in the game, and he’s one of
them. The game is bright.
I know sometimes people don’t tend to see that or think
that. It was the same thing when Pete and Andre left.
They thought, well, what do we have here now? Guys
who win slams, there is never the same winner. Well,
they got the same winners for a lot of years. It was
Novak, Rafa, myself, Murray and Stan.
It was nice to see, because that’s what I always thought.
I have a funny anecdote with Carlos, because I practiced
with him at Wimbledon one year when he was playing
the juniors. I thought he played well. You know, it was
good practice, whatever, just another warmup, I think it
was. And Juan Carlos was there. I was more excited to
see him obviously because he’s my guy.
Then the next day, two days later or next day, on my day
off, very often when you practice with somebody, you
practice again because you just have, and if the practice
was good it’s just simple to call again and say, Do you
want to do it again?
But I said, I want to hit with Juan Carlos, not with Carlos,
just because I would like to practice with him and I’m
super laid back in practice, anyway. I ended up playing
with Ferrero. It was great. He didn’t miss a ball. He
could still be on tour. I’m really happy for him also in
particular that they are being this successful.
Q. You were saying you’re satisfied with the
decision. How much easier, if it was, was that made
because of the last year where you hadn’t played,
you had been with the family and the kids all the
time, that you hadn’t been at tournaments, so did
that make it any easier? Once this week is over,
what’s the first lot of things you’re going to do?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, one, I’m not satisfied. I’m
happy. I’m happy with the decision, because it’s the right
one. I thought about it. I have had a lot of time to let it
I mean, it’s been a few months now, been rather stressful
not having it leak out and was more worried about
everybody around me who knew about it, who was
getting asked every single day, How is Roger, how is
Roger’s knee, and when is he coming back? They all
very well knew what the situation was. I’m sorry for them
that they had to go through this. So I think we are all
relieved at this point it’s out.
I don’t remember the question anymore. But then what
I’m going to do next is I want to read a lot of what maybe
a lot of you have written and a lot of TV stuff. I haven’t
seen stuff that have been produced and put together for
me I haven’t seen really, to be honest.
I didn’t plan it through exactly every step of the way what
was going to happen. I just said I think it’s a good
moment to announce it on Thursday last week, because
it gives people the time to either travel to London or just
give a bit of a heads-up instead of announcing it, like, say
I had no plans for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. All
I had was practice, fitness on Friday, tennis on Saturday,
and I said, we’ll see if I have to do press, but apparently
the letter had enough in it for it seemed like for
everybody that I could push the press all the way to
today and yesterday, which I’m very happy about, which
allowed me to spend time with my kids, with going after
my daily life and having wonderful dinners and looking
back and celebrate, to be honest.
So that’s what I want to do next is catch up a little bit, see
everybody, and then go on vacation a little bit with the
family. I think it’s a perfect moment for me to then spend
time with Mirka and get on the phone with the team and
just talk a little bit about the Laver Cup, you know, how
has this week gone and where do we go from here?
Did I miss anything at the beginning, or did I answer
everything? You okay? Okay.
Q. So many of your successes have come in this
city, Wimbledon and two ATP Finals titles at this
venue. How does it feel to close this chapter of your
life in London?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that was clearly part of my
thinking, as well: Where is the place? I contemplated a
lot of other things. Before the US Open maybe, but this
was before Serena announced it. But I said I was not
going to be there. So I’m just going to announce it, not
going to be around. People think I’m going to be a
stranger to the game and to everybody, and I don’t get a
chance to properly say good-bye to the fans and
So made me wait another month all the way to here. I
wish I could have announced it earlier, but it all worked
out. I’m happy to do it here in London. After then
thinking about it, this city has been special to me. Maybe
the most special place with Wimbledon down the road
and here at the O2. Haven’t played here and qualified for
so many years and won here as well. I just thought it
was very fitting. I have always enjoyed the crowds here
Having Bjorn Borg on the bench with me for my final
game resonated also in a big way with me. Having all
the other guys around just felt like I was not going to be
lonely announcing my retirement. Not that I wanted to
hijack this event or anything, but just felt — I always feel
sorry for players who sometimes retire on the tour, say,
I’m going to play one more match, then at one point you
lose and there you stand all alone. Obviously 99% of the
time you will lose at one point because only one guy wins
I just felt like this works very well here. But I always
wanted to keep the integrity of the event alive. That’s
why I had a lot of conversations with everybody. I’m
really looking forward to these next few days. It’s going
to be very special.
Q. You have been telling you want to stay involved
in tennis in the future, but do you also already have a
little bit of an idea if it will be on the coaching side or
director’s side, if managing?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. No, I just wanted to let
the fans know I won’t be a ghost, you know. It’s funny,
you know, I talked about Bjorn Borg just before. I don’t
think he returned to Wimbledon for 25 years.
That, in a way, hurts every tennis fan. Totally
acceptable, his life, his reasons, you know. But I don’t
think I’ll be that guy, you know, and 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.
I love seeing people again, and that’s kind of what I
wanted to let the fans know that you’ll see me again. Not
just never again. Now what it could be, in what capacity,
I don’t know. So I still have to think about it a little bit but
give myself time.
Q. I’m just wondering, we all talk about the beautiful
shots and the footwork, but how important has
resilience and grit been in winning the big matches
that you have in your career?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, people won’t talk about that,
that’s fun. They will talk about the other things, which I’m
very happy and very proud of, as well. But you need
everything, especially grit and fight and all that toughness
to come through and stay at the top for as long as I did.
I think it’s logical. It’s not gifted or handed to you just to
have that. For some of the players, it’s maybe easier to
have that. It’s like more ingrained in their DNA. I feel like
I had to go and find it and take care of it, which maybe is
harder in my position.
Me, I was more lucky to maybe, was more gifted with
racquet head speed or that stuff. So, yes, I’m proud of
how far I have come, because I know that this was
something I really struggled with early on. I was
criticized a lot, heavily maybe sometimes even, fairly or
unfairly, whatever it is, why wouldn’t I fight more when
losing? Because they thought when I lost I didn’t give it
all I had, even though I care probably more than most
So I didn’t quite understand what that meant. Do I have
to grunt, do I have to sweat more, shout more, be more
aggressive towards my opponents? What is it? It’s not
me. I’m not like that. That’s not my personality.
A lot of people then told me, Well, you have to be
tougher and not so nice maybe, you know. I tried, but
that was all an act. And I said, Well, I will try it the nice
way. Let’s see where it takes me. Let me just try to be
normal and be myself, and I’m very happy I was able to
stay authentic and be myself for this long.
Of course I had to adapt to all these different curve balls
being thrown at me, but I’m very happy I was able to
have a good relationship with players, tournament
directors, press, as well, and that’s why I think I had as
much fun at the tour as I had. I think it was probably a
good mindset for me.
Q. I just wanted to ask, first of all, can a legend like
you have regrets now if you think about your career?
What do you think about the new generation of
players, like you mentioned Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner?
How different it would be from your generation?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, yes, of course you have
somewhat regrets but never really, because I do believe
things happen for a reason, and if it wasn’t going to be for
mistakes made or wrong decisions, who knows? Those
are what made me grow, as well.
I’m happy it happened the way it did. I’m probably
famous for having some tougher losses, as well, but then
also dealing with them and seeing it as an opportunity to
get better, to grow from it.
I’m happy I don’t have flashbacks at tough moments in
my career. I see more the happiness, me with trophy,
me winning, me winning moments, and I’m happy that my
brain allows me to think this way, because I know it’s not
easy to push sometimes defeats and those things away.
I mean, obviously as a tennis player, you also have to
take tough decisions on the outside of the tennis court,
you know. I always believed I cannot let my team decide
everything and dictate everything. I am in charge at the
end of the day. I am the one at the center, and I am the
one to blame. I’m not going to start blaming others for
things I decided.
So that’s why I don’t feel like I have regrets. Sometimes
my only one is I wish I was going to be more professional
at a younger age, but I know this would probably backfire
at me as well in a really bad way that I would have lost
my hunger and fire way earlier, because I would have
thought I’m not enjoying myself, too serious, and I didn’t
want to be so serious so early.
So I think I’m happy that my team, my coaches allowed
me to be myself early on and dealt with my erratic
behavior, super inspired for 10 minutes but shocking for
another 30. But they knew that those 10 minutes made
up for those other 30. Yeah, so that was good.
The new generation, I think it’s going to be great. More
athletic than ever I think again with the players you
mentioned and many more: Zverev, Medvedev,
Tsitsipas, Rublev, all of them. Not mentioning nearly
enough, but the best movers are the best players. It’s
been like this for the last 10, 20 years already now, and
it’s going to stay like this, if you see what they are able to
do. I think that is going to stay this way.
I’m not so positive about serve and volley. Just I think it’s
not going to happen, because I don’t think players are
willing to put their bodies on the line for a missed first
serve and still sprinting for two, three steps, and having
to walk back to the line and think that was for nothing. I
think it’s easier to stay at the baseline after the serve.
Then of course it’s a full-on-blown mindset, the
serve-and-volley play. But I think there is definitely ways
to have an all-court game, a transition game, which I
loved playing. I loved my half-volleys, loved my transition
game. I learned from the generation before me, the
Henmans and so on, Sampras. I knew if I hit it onto the
service line, that is an approach opportunity for my
opponent. They’re coming.
So that’s why I better play one meter to the baseline, and
then I can keep them back. Anything short, they’re
coming in. Nowadays that’s not the case, but that’s fine.
I still think tennis is going to be really exciting and we
probably don’t know in which way it’s going to go exactly,
but we will see some ridiculous defending, some
unbelievable power, and great personalities. I’ll be their
No. 1 fan. It’s going to be all good.
Q. The greatest-of-all-time debate I guess will go on
forever. Does it bother you where you stand in that
debate, or are you just particularly proud that you
were sort of the trail blazer that initiated this golden
ROGER FEDERER: I’m definitely very proud and very
happy where I sit. One of my big moments of course
was winning my 15th slam at Wimbledon, you know,
when Pete was sitting there. Anything after that was a
bonus. That was the record, you know, and then of
course it was other records along the way.
But then of course nowadays, I think, and it will only
increase, players will want to chase records. It’s true at
some point I kind of probably did as well, but not the first
years until I got closer to Pete’s record.
For me, it was about how did I manage my schedule,
was I happy on and off the court, did I like my life on the
tour? And I did. I think I had the best of times.
Obviously the last few years have been what they have
been, but I’m very happy that I was able to win another
five slams from 15 on. For me it was incredible. Then I
made it to over 100 titles, and all that stuff has been
fantastic. Then just my longevity is something I’m very
Don’t need all the records to be happy; I tell you that.
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