“In principle, I was only concerned with my health, but now I miss the feeling of playing in a full stadium,” said Federer. “Retirement is getting closer and I will miss tennis so much. It would be easier for me to retire now, but I wanna give myself a chance to keep enjoying my time on the court.”
Federer, who will turn 39 in August this year, has continued to defy his age and is still ranked No 4 in the world. In 2020, he has competed in just the one tournament – the Australian Open, where he lost to eventual champion and world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
A week after that, the 20-time Grand Slam champion took part in an exhibition event in South Africa with Rafael Nadal, Bill Gates and Trevor Noah. Shortly after, he underwent an arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee.
Federer was hoping to make a comeback at Wimbledon (before the coronavirus pandemic led to the entire grass court season being cancelled) but faced setbacks during his rehabilitation and was forced to undergo another surgery on his knee last month.
“A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee,” Federer had said in a Twitter post.
“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level. “I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but, I will look forward to see everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season”.
In an interview with GQ recently, Federer spoke about how the two surgeries compelled him to consider retirement.
“It has definitely been a big moment for me, with the coronavirus and the two operations I have had on my knee and I have had to consider if I really want to keep going [with my career],” he said.
“It is easy for me to say that I do right now, but it is a long road back and I have to be patient with my recovery. But speaking more generally about the coronavirus, I think it is a time for reflection and for us all to remember what is really important in life – family, friends, health. And you go back to basics really.
“I know some people have found it difficult being at home, some people have been scared, and I think now is the time for us all to care and look out for each other. Personally, I think a lot of people are going to come out of lockdown scarred mentally, so I think we can all help each other get over that. For me, I have been busy looking after my kids, so I can’t complain, but I know it has been hard for other people.”