Sports

Roger Federer said, I will not become a tennis ghost, before the final


LONDON : Roger Federer brought the curtain down on his illustrious career this weekend but the Swiss conductor has assured millions of fans he won’t become a tennis ghost.

Back in London, downstream from where he won a record eight Wimbledon titles, the 41-year-old said he has no intention of leaving the sport he has long loved.

Speaking to reporters at London’s O2 arena, where Federer twice won the ATP Finals, the Swiss was at times emotional as he explained his decision to hang up his racket.

When asked what his plans for the future are, Federer said he won’t disappear like the great Bjorn Borg of Sweden, who is leading Europe in the match against the Rest of the World in this week.

“I just wanted to let the fans know that I won’t be a ghost. It’s funny, I was talking about Bjorn Borg, he hasn’t been back to Wimbledon in 25 years and it breaks every fan’s heart.” Federer talks about the 11th time the Big Winner quit tennis at the age of 26.

“But I don’t think I’ll be that guy. I feel like tennis has given me too much. I’ve been in this game for too long. I’ve loved so much.

“You’ll see me again. In what capacity, I don’t know. Still have to think for a while, give yourself some time.”

Federer announced last Thursday that the Laver Cup, the team event he helped create, would be the final act in a professional career spanning nearly a quarter of a century.

Not competing since last year’s Wimbledon quarter-final loss, Federer will make the final bow in a doubles match, possibly alongside his great rival Rafa Nadal.

Federer remains hopeful of a comeback but says knee problems eventually forced him to retire.

“My knee doesn’t allow me to play at this level anymore,” he said.

“I realized that during the summer and then I was just looking for a place at the right time that I could call it.

“I feel it’s a great fit to end my career here. Having Bjorn Borg on the bench when I come off the pitch will be something amazing and I feel it’s something real. There’s a whole team behind me that won’t feel lonely when I call it a day.”

Federer’s 20 Grand slam titles have been surpassed by Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in the unprecedented golden era of men’s tennis. But regardless of the stats, many still consider him the greatest player to ever hold a racket.

He has won 103 titles in his career, second only to Jimmy Connors, and spent a record 237 consecutive weeks as world number one from 2004 to 2008.

His first Grand Slam title came in 2003 when he beat Mark Philippoussis to win Wimbledon and he went on to win it five years in a row before losing to Nadal in the 2008 classic.

“This city is special to me, probably the most special place,” said Federer.

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