In a world without the pandemic and his knee injury, at around this time Roger Federer would have been preparing to make his nation proud at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But that wasn’t meant to be; Federer currently finds himself recuperating from two surgeries on his right knee, and the Games itself has been postponed to next year.
The celebrated Olympian would have been aiming for his third medal, and can still do so at Tokyo 2021. In a recent interview for SRFSport with another celebrated Swiss Olympian - Nicola Spirig - Roger Federer opened up about his plans for the 2021 Olympics and his retirement.
Of course I want a medal at 2021 Olympics: Roger Federer
The greatest achievement for a sportsperson is generally considered to be an Olympic medal. Not only does it bring glory to the individual, but it also adds to his/her nation's status on the global stage.
Roger Federer made Switzerland proud in 2008 as well as 2012 by winning a gold (in doubles) and a silver (in singles). He has similar hopes for the 2021 Olympics as he said:
“Olympics are always special. I took an incredible amount with me. I’m excited to see what Tokyo will be like and hope the games can take place in 2021!”
“Of course I want a medal there. No matter whether in singles, doubles or mixed,” he added.
A third Olympic medal for Roger Federer would no doubt etch his name as one of the greatest Olympians in the sport of tennis. The legendary Swiss would be just behind Reginald Doherty of Great Britain, who is the current leader in the medals tally list with four.
The road to a third medal would be quite challenging for Roger Federer as he is far from peak physical fitness at the moment. The Swiss doesn’t seem too perturbed by that though, as he isn’t thinking about Olympic preparations yet.
“I’m not there yet," Federer said. "If you have been on the tour for 20 years, you are happy to have a quieter year. The right preparation starts about 3 months before the Games; you don’t think about it beforehand.”
When the cogwheels don’t grip anymore, I stop: Roger Federer on retirement
The topic of retirement has been looming large for Roger Federer since the past few years. Many wondered if he would quit after winning his 15th Major at Wimbledon 2009; some questioned if he should hang up his boots when he went five years without a Slam from 2012-2017; still others wondered if the Swiss would be able to return to the game in 2021 after two knee surgeries.
Roger Federer, however, hopes to play his beloved game for as long as possible. Even at the age of 38, he hasn’t been deterred by two surgeries on his dominant knee, as he looks to resume racquet training in a few weeks.
The 2021 season definitely seems to be a part of his plans as he explained how he prefers taking a short-term approach than a longer one:
“It is already clear that I am at the end of my career. I cannot say what will be in 2 years. That’s why I plan year after year. I’m still happy right now. But when the cogwheels don’t grip anymore, I stop.”
Retirement wouldn’t necessarily mark the end of Federer’s relationship with the sport though, as he also said he would continue playing in his old age.
“When I am old, I will surely play tennis. But no longer train but just ‘ball’. It will be a very interesting step not to always work on something and only to play with colleagues.”