Roger Federer reflects one year later
Twelve months since Roger Federer gave an emotional farewell to professional tennis, he couldn’t be more content.
“It’s a really intense, beautiful life I’m living now,” said the 42-year-old during a question and answer session that followed Laver Cup’s Day 1 play at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.
“It’s great to be back at the Laver Cup one year later and if I look back at the memories, I thought the farewell was beautiful, it was perfect, it was emotional, there was proper suffering going on throughout my talk with you,” Federer said to Jim Courier.
“I was always dreading the moment for years … I was just worried my end was somehow going to be not nice and it was the opposite, it was great. I felt really good about it and very happy … something I was very lucky to experience.”
Federer hopes the three-day event can draw the best out of its competitors. “It can be very lonely on tour…being in a team environment for an individual athlete like a tennis player is a great, great thing,” said Federer.
“The Laver Cup is an amazing combination of being in a team with other heroes and being together, having dinner together, lunch together, talking tennis all day, and just feeding off one another, and hopefully leaving the Laver Cup motivated and inspired to go on and do great things, and win every tournament you possibly can.”
“Winning in a team is a great thing, you can release a lot of great emotions like we’ve seen today,” Federer said, acknowledging Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe’s joyful celebration after their doubles victory.
He also recalled memorable Laver Cup battles between John Isner and Dominic Thiem during Prague 2017, Tiafoe and Stefanos Tsitsipas in London 2022, and Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic in Geneva 2019.
Does Federer, beloved the world over, miss being on tour?
“Of course I do,” grinned the Swiss legend. “In a way, I miss everything about the game, the exciting moments spent on court, the break points saved, winning match points, holding up trophies, walking past fans, taking selfies,” he said, acknowledging that he had a taste of the latter while visiting Wimbledon and Halle in recent months.
But in his own words, there are “a lot of fun things to be done” these days. After attending an Elton John concert, Federer said he sought the counsel of one of his daughters when deciding whether or not to accept Chris Martin’s invitation to join Coldplay on stage in Zurich. “Of course Papa, you only live once,” she prompted.
“It’s been beautiful to be home more … spending time with friends and family has been incredible,” Federer said. “[I] don’t have the weight of another match, of another practice where the body is maybe not right.”
“I do miss a lot of the places that I used to travel to regularly,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion. “Can’t have it all, I’ve had it for 25 years and it was incredible, and I would do it all over again.”
While his fitness regime may not be what it once was, Federer said he still makes it to the gym four to five times a week. “I’m a little bit heavier unfortunately … I’m on a diet,” chuckled Federer.
Asked by Team Europe Captain Bjorn Borg whether he has ambitions of being his successor, the former No.1 replied: “That position is so locked by you forever.
“And yes, I mean why not one day?” he added. “I don’t think right away, but I’m absolutely open to the thought … just want to give back to the game in any shape or form.”
Federer was momentarily stumped when asked, via video, by longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal who his favorite doubles partner was. “I mean, I thought it was my wife until this guy showed up … Rafa can have it,” chortled Federer.
As for what he’d tell his nine-year-old self?
“Have fun when you go to practice, have a good time, listen to your parents, listen to your coaches, they’re right. Maybe you would have had a better career with a double-handed backhand,” said Federer, before bursting into laughter. “No, I’m joking, I’m happy with my one-hander,” he added, sharing his four kids all play with a double-handed backhand.
Federer’s brood has kept him plenty busy.
“I’m a professional driver nowadays and an organizer and a logistics man,” he grinned. “It’s definitely a test on a complete other level.”
As for what’s next, beyond work with his foundation and other projects, Federer pledged that tennis will be sprinkled into his schedule.
“I’ve made myself a promise that I will be no stranger to the tour, I will try to come back from time to time, not all the time, but from time to time.”