"At a funeral of your own life" - Roger Federer lays bare his "strange" retirement experience and the feeling of athletes "dying twice"

2020 Australian Open: Previews
2020 Australian Open: Previews

Tennis legend Roger Federer is currently busy promoting his upcoming documentary 'Federer: Twelve Final Days', which centers on the final twelve days of his career. The 42-year-old recently revealed his retirement experience, calling it the second "funeral" in a player's life.

Federer's upcoming documentary leads up to his career's last tournament, the 2022 Laver Cup. Moreover, the Asif Kapadia and Joe Sabia directorial will also feature other tennis bigwigs such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, John McEnroe, and Bjorn Borg.

During an interview with EL PAÍS, the Swiss was asked if he agreed to his former coach Severin Luthi's statement that an athlete experiences two deaths, one of which is his retirement.

In response, Federer agreed to the statement, calling an athlete's retirement a "funeral". He described it as a strange feeling where a player is completely aware yet thinks that everything unfolds gradually, and the documentary reflects on that experience.

"Look, it's an incredible feeling, like you're at a kind of funeral of your own life . It's a very strange feeling, to be honest. You are completely alert and experience a great slow-motion blur of everything that is happening. Therefore, watching the documentary is like therapy;" Roger Federer said ( translated from Spanish).

Federer further emphasized that only retired athletes could understand the profound impact of what happens on the final day of a player's journey. He added that he never thought his retirement would be so rich with varied and intense experiences.

"In fact, it's very hard for me to see it because I know what I felt then, and you go through it again. So what Severin says may sound strong, but athletes who have not yet retired don't know what it really means. It's like an operation: you only know what it feels like once you've gone through it. I never would have thought that the ending would be so full of experiences."

"It reflects our camaraderie" - Roger Federer on why he framed a picture of his poignant moment with Rafael Nadal from the 2022 Laver Cup

Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021 - Day Three
Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021 - Day Three

During the interview, Roger Federer also revealed that he had framed a picture of him crying with Rafael Nadal after his final match at the 2022 Laver Cup.

Federer, who teamed up with Nadal in a doubles match, lost to the duo of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9. Following the match, he and Nadal shared an emotional moment, shedding tears together, which is one of the most fondly recalled moments from his career.

The 42-year-old revealed that the image reflects the rivalry and the friendship he shared with Nadal during his career.

"I don't know, maybe I should ask Rafa, but it's probably more important for me than for him. I have it at home, framed, in a space where I have some images of my career; I don't want photos everywhere, so I have them in a specific area. And when I walk past it, it always catches my attention because it reflects our camaraderie, our friendship and also our rivalry, all in one image," he said.

The Swiss said that Ellie Goulding's performance during the event helped him and Nadal reflect on their careers and appreciate their fortunes as professional tennis players.

"At that moment, Ellie Goulding was singing and it is a moment in which we are both able to reflect on everything we had just experienced, remembering our career and how lucky we have been to be tennis players, to have been able to turn our hobby into a profession, dream. That's what that photo means to me. It was a great moment, short; hold her hand for a second and basically show my gratitude through that touch," he added.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had some intense matchups in their careers, with Nadal leading 24-16 in their head-to-head record. Their last encounter was in the semi-finals of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, where the Swiss defeated Nadal 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Who Are Roger Federer's Kids? Know All About Federer's Twins

Quick Links

Edited by Partha Sarathi Banerjee
App download animated image Get the free App now