“The last game? A double, perhaps with Nadal »- Corriere.it

from Gaia Piccardi

Last pro press conference for Federer: «The future? Read and watch movies. Tennis? Let’s hear from you in ten years: we’ll see what the Alcaraz have been able to build … “

One last urrah on Friday, in doubles, we hope together with the rival of a lifetime Rafa Nadal (“The choice is up to Captain Borg, but closing with Rafa would be perfect”), in the city that gave him and took away, London (“A special place for me: at Wimbledon I got my best victories and I suffered the hardest defeats”). And patience if the Laver Cup – team Europe against Rest of the World – it is not a real tournament but a very rich performance for billionaires, with tickets skyrocketing: continuity, being an event managed by its management, is in business.

Roger Federer and the last official press conference as a tennis player. Blue jacket, white shirt, Rolex on the wrist. A dry eye also when he talks about Peter Carter, the Australian coach who was the first to understand the potential of the talent of the long-haired, ponytailed boy from Basel, who died prematurely in a car accident during his honeymoon (“Mi I’m sorry he didn’t see what I have become, I have to thank him for the technique and mentality he gave me “), and when he talks about the process that led him to announce his retirement from tennis:” At the beginning of the summer I tried to raise the level of training, knowing that any unforeseen event could mean the end. But the harder I tried, the harder I struggled: I quickly realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was not ready, continuing to push would have been risky. Tennis is brutal: the five sets, the surfaces, the hours on the court. Returning to the level of the past was no longer possible. I ignored the thought for a while, I asked myself: is it possible to take my time and return to Wimbledon 2023? No it is not. I warned the family, my children cried: Dad, so we’re not going to Paris, Indian Wells, Rome anymore? We’ll go there again, if you want to, I replied. Then I called my team to discuss the details of the retreat. I wanted to play forever, but it’s not possible. I have to accept that the time has come to say enough is enough ».

Nothing singular in Laver Cup (which will be broadcast exclusively on Discovery +), a luxury that his knees do not allow. Matteo Berrettini, the reserve of the Europa team, will take the field in singles on Saturday, Federer will play the last fifteen on Friday evening in doubles. He smiles: “I’m nervous, I hope to have a decent level, I haven’t played for so long …”. Wimbledon 2021, the quarter-final lost with Hurkacz 6-0 in the third. Reminding him now would mean staining the white lace tablecloth with coffee. “It was a nice trip, I don’t want to talk about regrets. Things happen for a reason: even the most atrocious kappaos taught me something, they helped me grow. Perhaps the only regret is not having been more professional at certain moments in my junior career. I was too serious! ‘ Serious and emotional. He cried on the pitch after the defeats, he smashed rackets. He changed, he became Roger Federer.

Twenty Grand Slam titles, 103 tournaments won in total (but it is not a record, it belongs to Connors), over 1500 matches played without ever retiring during construction. This, most of all, is the exceptional data: “Well, maybe my longevity is the quality I am most proud of – he reflects aloud with the tone of an actor -, I too am amazed to have lasted so long at that level. of competitiveness. I admired Michael Schumacher so much, Tiger Woods, now I understand them ». There is also an overview of the best moments (“Difficult to choose: the first title at Wimbledon, the match with Sampras on the grass in London, the winning return in 2017 in Australia, the first and only Roland Garros: I’m lucky to be able to choose …” ), on the things he will miss most (“Fasten my shoes and bandana, feel the adrenaline rise, the fans who have given me so many emotions: now I have slower and less stressful days …”), on the future that awaits him : «I have no plans for next week, with the Laver Cup closed. After a long time on the road, I’ll stay home. I would like to read, recover some films that I have not seengo on vacation with the family ».

He has a calm, peaceful autumn tone of his (and our) life. We enjoyed it, talented contemporary among contemporaries, a pity for those who will have to retrieve it on You Tube or in the film library. Federer was an experience to do live, like the Nutcracker at the Scala, the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, a dinner in a starred restaurant, snorkeling in the Maldives. Then you never forgot it anymore. He was – in fact – retired from 2019 (ah, those two match points thrown into the Thames with Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon …), he is not dead. No more rhetoric, let’s stay sober and united. He promises that he will not disappear: “I don’t see myself in the role of commentator or coach, really no, but tennis is my life, this is my environment: I will not become a ghost, you will still see me around”. With the Beauty retired, the game remains in the hands of the Alcaraz generation, 19-year-old king of the US Open and of the ranking (“The new superstar, the future belongs to him. Too bad he can’t challenge us …”), Sinner (which he never mentions). «Powerful, fast, capable of producing the most athletic tennis we’ve ever seen courts. Of course I wouldn’t expect much serve and volley, it’s easier to stay at the baseline! Let’s hear from you in ten years: we will see what they have been able to build… ». You know of a gentle challenge, as if to say: I have reinvented tennis, let’s see what you are capable of doing. Hi Roger, it was great (without dramatizing).

September 21, 2022 (change September 21, 2022 | 16:01)

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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