Federer’s exit : not simple

Jul 9, 2021, 2:51:34 PM

Federer’s exit : not simple
A month away from turning 40, Roger Federer may have played his last match at Wimbledon. He was just selected by the Swiss Olympic committee to represent Switzerland at the Olympics and he is expected in New York for the US Open at the end of August. But how will he manage his exit?

I sincerely hope that all the « team Federer » fans will not be shocked that I am talking about the end of Roger Federer’s career. I have mentioned it in the past, but now it seems more appropriate than ever. So just to be clear, I am, in no way shape or form, pushing Roger Federer to retirement, but since it’s seems imminent I feel now is the time to start talking about it.

Roger Federer’s career cannot end on a bagel versus Hubert Hurkacz, without a word and just a sign of the hand. No that is not possible. It is unacceptable. The career end of one of the greatest athletes of all time needs to be done in style. Of course, the Swiss is dreaming of a Sampras like exit with a US Open win and peace out  ! However when Pete was crowned in Flushing Meadows, in 2002 he was 31. At the same age, Federer was regularly winning slams, making finals, winning Masters 1000, playing an Olympic final in Wimbledon. He was light years away from retirement. 10 years later, the situation is way more complicated. In his physical form, winning a major would be somewhat of miracle

I would happily bet my 1974 Vespa

At Wimbledon, the conditions were almost there to achieve the ultimate feat. He seemed in better shape than in Roland-Garros. The London grass, even if it has been slown down, is far from being as tiring as the clay or the cement. One is too slow and the other too fast. Of course Federer could win the US Open, in fact I would  happily bet my 1974 Vespa, that, if he does, he retires within minutes. However, this scenario would need the stars, not to be aligned, but to be welded. It would take a combination of defaulted players along with Covid cases in order for the coast to be clear for Federer. Unlikely.

In Tokyo, for the Olympics, the chances for Roger Federer to capture the gold medal that he’s been chasing seem more likely. The matches are played best of three set format, there are already a certain number of withdrawals (unfortunately for Federer, Djokovic is still in), the draw is one round shorter than in a Grand Slam. All very positive. Singing the Swiss national anthem while wearing the gold medal and standing on the highest step of the Olympic podium seems like a solid way to go as well.

How do you resolve this complicated equation?

However, since yesterday and the Japanese announcement that the Olympics will be organized behind closed doors, a question mark exists on Federer’s participation. The Swiss has very little experience with regards to playing with no crowds and has openly said he does not like it (who does ?) In fact, it’s only happened once to him, at the Roland-Garros night session versus Dominik Koepfer. The Japanese announcement along with his ugly Wimbledon exit, makes me strongly believe that the chances to see Roger Federer in Tokyo are slim to none.

So how does one do it? How do you resolve this complicated equation? Very simple. He just needs to announce it beforehand. Prior to the next US Open for example, during the pre-tournament media day, Roger Federer needs to announce that he will retire after the event. Of course this will be a shock to the world of tennis and sports in general and he will be overwhelmed with questions on the topic. So what? It will be the last time. It will also allow the rest of the world to prepare the exit that he deserves. More than just a « nice » crowd ovation after being bagled by Hubert Hurkacz.

Sorry Wimbledon, but Roger Federer’s retirement will not happen at the All England Club.