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Roger Federer has joked that he was ‘made to wait’ on announcing his retirement having originally thought about calling it quits earlier this summer, but feels London is the most ‘fitting’ city for his swansong. Shortly after the Wimbledon Championships last year, Federer underwent his third surgery on his right knee with the hope of making one final comeback.
As time went on, it looked increasingly unlikely that Federer was going to be able to make his return. Then it was announced that Federer had pencilled in the Laver Cup as his return date with the possibility of also playing at the Swiss Indoors.
But the 41-year-old dropped the news last week that the London showpiece will in fact be his final event before retiring. Federer admits that he kept the decision close to his chest with only his inner circle knowing that retirement was definitely coming.
And he even thought about making the announcement earlier this summer, before Serena Williams confirmed her retirement. The 20-time Grand Slam champion felt he then had to wait on his own announcement, but feels the Laver Cup is the best scenario for himself having his biggest rivals alongside him.
“That was clearly part of my thinking, where is the place?” Federer said. “Contemplated a lot of things. Before the US Open maybe, but this was before Serena announced it but I said that I wasn’t gonna be there.
“I was just gonna announce it and not be around, people think I’m gonna be a stranger to the game and to everybody and I don’t get a chance to properly say goodbye to the fans and everything. Made me wait another month. I wish I could have announced it earlier but it all worked out.
“I’m happy to do it here in London. After thinking about it, this city has been special to me, maybe the most special place with Wimbledon down the road and here at The 02 having played and qualified here for so many years. I just thought it was very fitting. I’ve always enjoyed the crowds here as well. I think Bjorn Borg on the bench with me for my final game resonated in a big way with me.
“Having all the other guys around just felt like I wasn’t going to be lonely announcing my retirement. Not that I wanted to hijack this event but I always feel sorry for players who sometimes retire on the tour and say ‘ok I’ll play one more match’ and then one point you lose and there you stand all alone.
“Obviously 99 per cent of the time you will lose at one point because only one guy can win a tournament. It just felt like this works really 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.”
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