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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is uncertain as to whether Wednesday’s quarter-final defeat to Hubert Hurkacz was his Wimbledon farewell, but insists his goal is to continue playing.
Last Updated: 08/07/21 9:39am
Roger Federer admits he does not know if he has played his final game at Wimbledon, but is not rushing into retirement talk after seeing his pursuit of a ninth singles title at the All England Club end in a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to Hubert Hurkacz.
The Centre Court crowd let their feelings on the matter be known as they bid farewell to him with chants of ‘one more year’ upon his exit, having also paid tribute to the 20-time Grand Slam champion with a rapturous standing ovation as Hurkacz prepared to see out the match while leading 5-0 in the third set.
Federer had come from two sets down to win on 10 occasions in his career, but never looked likely to make it 11 as he lost a set to love for the first time in his 22 appearances at Wimbledon.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know. I got to regroup,” said Federer when asked if this was his last time on Centre Court. “My goal was always for the last year and more to always try to play another Wimbledon. The initial goal, like you know, was to play last year. That was anyway never going to happen. Plus the pandemic hit.
“I was able to make it this year, which I’m really happy about. Like I said, with everything that comes after Wimbledon, we were always going to sit down and talk about it because clearly now Wimbledon is over.
“I got to take a few days. Obviously we’re going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, Okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive.
“I’m actually very happy I made it as far as I did here and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did after everything I went through. Of course I would like to play it again, but at my age you are just never sure what’s around the corner.”
Federer has played in just two of the last five Grand Slam tournaments due to injury problems, with the laboured nature of Wednesday’s defeat only raising further questions surrounding the 39-year-old’s future.
“It’s just about having perspective,” added Federer after being asked if retirement was a possibility. “You know you need a goal when you’re going through rehab with what I did. You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb at once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super step, if you like.
“For me, now that that’s over, you just got to reassess everything. You got to sit down, talk about it, what went well, what didn’t go so well, where is the body, where is the knee, where is the mind. As you can see, it was a struggle for me and putting in extra effort all the time, especially when things get difficult against Felix in Halle or today against Hurkacz.
“I knew it was going to be really hard, to be honest. Now I just got to talk to the team, take my time, not feel rushed by you guys or anybody else, for that matter. I got to take my time, take the right decision, the one decision I want to take and where I feel most comfortable. That’s where it leaves me. But, no, I hope not that that’s going to happen. The goal is to play, of course [smiling].”
Federer, who turns 40 in August, underwent surgery on his right knee on two occasions in 2020 and admitted he had hoped for a faster recovery during a long and gruelling rehabilitation process.
He arrived at the tournament having only played in eight games this season, including a loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime at Halle in Germany, where he had previously claimed 10 titles.
“I felt very disappointed in the moment itself, I still am,” explained Federer. “At the same time there’s always a weight that falls off your shoulders when a tournament is over, when a huge goal is made or missed. It doesn’t matter actually.
“You feel the weight is gone and you are exhausted. I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. That’s how I feel. It’s a funny feeling to have, to be honest. You put everything on the line, and when it’s all over you could just go sleep because you are so exhausted from the mental, pushing yourself forward, and trying everything.
“The last 18 months have been long and hard. Then again, if I take the perspective, I’m always very happy about a lot of things that happened the last few weeks, the last few months. I know will be upbeat again shortly.”
Author: Cameron Hogwood
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