Roger Federer's comeback is being eagerly awaited by millions across the world. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is scheduled to return to the men's tour in early March, after more than a year on the sidelines.
For most of his fans, the sight of Roger Federer lifting another Wimbledon trophy would be a dream come true. It would also be the proof they need that the Swiss extend his career beyond 2021. But not for Michael Stich; the former World No. 2 believes that a ninth Wimbledon title would serve as the perfect setting for Federer to announce his retirement.
"It is clear that at some point Roger Federer will stop," Stich said in a recent interview. "Many would have thought that already five years ago. I would wish for him to win Wimbledon and say after the final: 'You know what, I had a sick time, I'll stop.' There couldn't be anything better and that would give so much to the sport."
Michael Stich refused to write off Roger Federer's chances of winning another Slam. The German claimed that Federer's aggressive style of play and athleticism would help him to continue competing at the top level, especially at Wimbledon.
"You should never write him off because he is a player who has a gifted set of skills that help him to still play tennis that good at his age," Stich said. "But especially at Wimbledon, Roger Federer is certainly still a candidate for the title, because there he has this mental strength, because there he has the greatest joy."
Stich also asserted that Federer has nothing left to prove, and that he is only returning because he believes he can still win titles.
"Roger Federer has nothing to lose," Stich went on. "He doesn't have to prove anything to himself, he doesn't have to prove anything to the fans out there. He's really doing it because he thinks he can still win titles."
Wish that the passing of the torch happens while Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal are still active: Michael Stich
Many had considered Dominic Thiem's US Open triumph last year as a signal that the younger generation were ready to contend for the Majors. Before the Austrian, the last time a male player had won their first Grand Slam was Marin Cilic in 2014.
In that context, Michael Stich claimed he would like to see the younger generation take over while the Big 3 are still active, rather than wait for the legends to fade away.
"It's up to the young generation now and they are no longer 19," Stich said. "They are all 22, 23, 26. Dominic Thiem achieved it at the US Open. One would of course wish that they actively shape this transition, but that is looking into the future."
"As a spectator and fan, I naturally wish that the passing of the torch would still happen during the active time of the 'Big 3'," Stich continued. "It's the big goal of all young players that they would like to beat a Roger Federer, a Novak Djokovic, and a Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam final."