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"I'm at the beginning of my journey" - Roger Federer speaks on retirement, motivation & setbacks

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
ANALYST
Modified 25 Aug 2020, 03:45 IST
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Despite being away from tennis, life has been quite busy for the legendary Roger Federer over the past couple of months. He first went to Italy to film a commercial for one of his sponsors, where he also paid a surprise visit to the ‘roof-top tennis girls’. And recently, one of his other sponsors (Mercedes-Benz) released a new commercial featuring the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

Now, Credit Suisse (again one of his sponsors) has released a commercial that felicitates Roger Federer in a rather unique fashion. Federer could be seen discussing some key moments of his career during the ad, and giving his thoughts on how they shaped him into become the man that he is today. Federer also touched on the topic of retirement in the video.

My first Grand Slam at Wimbledon showed me how important a positive mindset was: Roger Federer

Roger Federer with his 8th Wimbledon title
Roger Federer with his 8th Wimbledon title

Going into the 2001 Wimbledon Championships, Roger Federer was ranked in the top 20 and had seemingly developed a connection with grass. While he wasn't expected to lift the trophy, he did announce himself to the tennis fraternity by defeating a certain Pete Sampras in the fourth round.

People all around the world sat up and took note of the Swiss' incredible talent. Unfortunately however, Federer couldn't replicate his exploits in the next round and lost to Tim Henman.

For Roger Federer, this was a failure and he needed to ‘learn from it.’ He revealed that the loss in 2001 made him question himself but at the same time gave him belief - which eventually helped him lift the trophy in 2003.

“You need to have the ability to be comfortable with failure and to learn from it," said Federer. "2001 was that for me and it did make me question whether I had missed my chance. Coming back two years later and win my first Grand Slam at Wimbledon really showed me how important positive mindset was.”

Roger Federer on his 2009 and 2016 seasons

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Roger Federer after Wimbledon 2009
Roger Federer after Wimbledon 2009

2009 and 2006 were extremely contrasting seasons for Roger Federer. During the former he not only won the elusive French Open but also broke the all-time Grand Slam record by lifting the Wimbledon title. In 2016, however, he was faced with a career threatening injury which caused him to miss a couple of Majors before eventually undergoing surgery.

Despite achieving the highest possible laurel in the sport in 2009, Federer was cautious. He revealed that he wanted to avoid getting complacent as he still had more to achieve.

“2009 was an absolute fantastic year for me. After having won the French Open I was also able to win Wimbledon and break the all time Grand Slam record there in an absolute historical match,” said Federer.
“It would have been easy to get complacent finishing that year in the number one position for my fifth time," he added. "It's another moment where you gotta look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the question, do I wanna achieve more? I would like to achieve a little bit more, yes please.”
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Roger Federer had a tumultuous 2016
Roger Federer had a tumultuous 2016

The injury in 2016 brought about some dark clouds in the life of Roger Federer. He wasn’t getting any younger, and at the same time the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were in exceptional form.

Not many had hopes left from the Swiss, but for him it was just about putting in the the amount of hard work that was needed to get to his goals.

"2016 post knee surgery was a big moment for me. But I think when you're down and out or you just lost another match or just had surgery waking up from those moments, I think is a reminder that we're all the same and only hard work gets you to your ultimate goals,” Federer said.

Roger Federer on retirement

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The R-word has been closely shadowing Roger Federer ever since he broke Sampras’ record in 2009. At that point some believed he had achieved all there was to achieve in tennis, while others felt he would decline soon and so should call it quits while at a high.

Roger Federer himself had other ideas though. He not only continued playing the sport that he loves so deeply, but also returned to winning ways. With three Grand Slam titles since his return in 2017, Federer once again rose to the top of tennis.

In a strange turn of fate, Federer faces the same situation now that he did in 2016. The Swiss underwent two surgeries on his right knee this year and currently faces four more months on the sidelines.

Naturally, the murmurs about his retirement have been getting louder with each passing day, which is understandable considering Federer will turn 40 next year.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

But Federer claims that his love for the sport is far from gone. In fact, his varied successes outside the world of tennis have given him the belief that he was ‘only at the beginning’ of his journey.

"I get asked a lot about retirement and I know I cannot play tennis forever but it is something special to do something well in life," remarked Federer. "It's such a great time at the moment. I'm still loving it on the court. My foundation has just surpassed the initial goal, and my off-court ventures are still only growing. For me it really shows me maybe I'm just only at the beginning of my journey."
Published 25 Aug 2020, 03:45 IST
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