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Roger Federer discusses plans for 2017 in new interview, speaks about Novak Djokovic

1.66K   //    27 Oct 2016, 12:15 IST
Roger Federer speaks during a Laver Cup media announcement at the St Regis Hotel on August 24, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
The Swiss legend is on sabbatical until 2017

Former World No. 1 Roger Federer, who this year struggled with significant injuries, decided to sit out the season following his semi-final exit at Wimbledon. The Swiss ace, who has been practicing and playing off the circuit in the lead up to the 2017 season, recently sat down with a Swiss TV channel and revealed his plans for the upcoming year. 

Federer discussed a number of issues in the interview, starting off with his injuries. The Swiss Maestro, who rolled his ankle during his Wimbledon semi-final against Milos Raonic, has struggled with a meniscus injury over the last decade, which appears to be significantly plaguing him in the past few years.

He pinpointed that injury as the key troubling factor, but mentioned that he would be back to full practice in a month; Federer has been seen participating in hitting practice over already, however, and in the past few weeks has hit with US Open champion and compatriot Stan Wawrinka. 

Pursuing ‘life’

In the interview, Federer speaks about having more time for his family. The former No. 1 shares two sets of twins with his partner of over a decade, former tennis pro Mirka Federer (nee Vavrinec). His social media has of late seen the Swiss post photographs from his hikes in the Swiss Alps, and participating in other activities; “it makes it seem as though I am playing more than working,” Federer said in French, mentioning that although the pictures may have given the impression that he has been enjoying himself, he has been putting a significant effort into practicing and fitness. “I was doing the exciting stuff more because I could not train,” he says.

On Novak Djokovic

Federer said he understood that the Serbian No. 1 had been having a lull in an otherwise strongly starting season, but was still surprised by the magnitude of his losses this year. He implied that he had been surprised Djokovic had won nothing after the French Open, echoing Djokovic’s own sentiments on his mental block following the French Open win. “Perhaps he has lost that one ‘big’ aim after winning Roland Garros,’ Federer said, suggesting Djokovic needed to realign himself mentally to find a purpose going into the 2017 season, an all-important factor being the immense form of Andy Murray, who is quick on Djokovic’s tail for the World No. 1 ranking. 

On the famed ‘Return of Federer’:

Federer stated in the interview that he did not do it for ‘achievements’ or laurels, but purely for the love of the sport, saying he hoped for a pain-free return to tennis once he has healed and rehabilitated completely from his injuries. “I am not worried about my ranking when I return,” he said, adding that he “know(s) (I) can beat the very best of the best.”

The Swiss ace mentioned his sadness at being unable to play some of his favourite tournaments, among them the Swiss Indoors at Basel, which is currently underway; a home tournament for Federer, it is also one of the Swiss’ favourites. 

Much to the delight of his fans, Federer said he hoped to be back to Grand Slam-winning form in the coming season. But reiterating he had a goal to fulfil prior to this, Federer mentioned wanting to win “at least 5 good titles on the (ATP World) Tour,” and that an inability to do that would be “very worrying” for him. He mentioned also taking things “mont by month,” and that 2018 was too far away for him to think about. 

On retirement

Asked what he would do after retirement, Federer mentions that it is something he does not wish to think about just yet. “I follow tennis closely whether I am on tour or not,” he says, “but tennis will be fine without me.” The Swiss says many fans have in fact come up to him in public and said tennis has “not been the same” without him, and mentions that although he could play exhibition matches post retirement, they would “not be the same as competing.”

Ending the interview on a humorous note, Federer, who was asked if he could play James Bond following his retirement, mentions his dislike of acting, “even in advertisements.”

“But I do want to be the best father and the best husband,” he signs off.

Federer will return to action at the 2017 team tennis Hopman Cup in Australia. 

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