Roger Federer will retire from tennis this week a contented man, having in his own words "overachieved" in the sport. The Swiss legend bows out after having won 103 ATP singles titles including 20 Grand Slams, as well as an Olympic doubles gold medal from Beijing 2008.
Federer, who has not played since the summer of 2021 at Wimbledon, announced his retirement last week on social media, saying his body was no longer able to allow him to return to competition.
As he prepares for one final farewell at the Laver Cup in London, the 41-year-old Swiss told the BBC that he had "overachieved" during his career.
"I don't think anybody grows up and thinks they're going to win this much," he said. "You're happy with winning Wimbledon titles, which is already crazy, or becoming world number one and being the best. Coming from a small country, we don't have a base of so many players, so I totally overachieved in my mind.
"It's been an absolute dream of a run that I've had for so long and I know that, and that's why I'm totally happy to step away as well."
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Federer on calling it quits: "There was a limit"
The two-time Olympic medallist, who won singles silver on the grass courts of Wimbledon at London 2012 to go with his Beijing gold medal, admitted he had himself given up on playing while trying to make it back from his latest knee problem, which required surgery after Wimbledon last year.
"The last three years have been tough to say the least. When I still played the last match against Rafa in Cape Town a few years back (the Match for Africa against Rafael Nadal in February 2020) I was very unhappy with my knee, and I knew I was on very thin ice for the last year," the Swiss maestro acknowledged.
"Ever since I played Wimbledon last year and I tried to come back but then I just could feel there was a limit to what I could do and this is not the way to play or try to keep pushing and I also stopped believing in it to be honest.
"I got a scan back a few months back and it was just not the scan I was hoping for, and this is when very quickly we realised it was it."
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Family first for Roger Federer
Federer insists he will stay in tennis despite hanging up his racket.
"I just wanted to let the fans and the people know who have supported me for so long for so many years everywhere around the world that I will still be seen," he confirmed.
"I love this game and I will want to stay involved in some shape or form and I won't be just the a ghost or a stranger and not be around anymore."
However, Federer added his family comes first in retirement. "I always tried to keep a clean slate for when I retire.
"I do have four children and they are amazing and they need my help, and my wife too. She's always been by my side throughout.
"We'll see how I can stay in the game, in what way. I would love to mentor children and get the next Swiss superstar going. It'll be a nice time to reflect and look forward."
Laver Cup 2022: Federer's last match with Nadal
The 2022 Laver Cup, Federer's final professional event, takes place in London from 23–25 September.
It pits a selection of Europe's best players – Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Casper Ruud, and Stefanos Tsitsipas with Matteo Berrettini as alternate – against a World team that features Félix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz, Diego Schwartzman, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, and Jack Sock with Tommy Paul as alternate.
A minimum of six singles and three doubles matches will be played from Friday through Sunday, with up to three further singles and one doubles rubber if required. Matches on Friday are worth a point each, with that value increasing to two points per match on Saturday and three on Sunday. The first team to 13 points will win the Cup named after Rod Laver.
Federer has announced that he will not play in any singles during the tournament, and will play only one match – Friday doubles – at the Laver Cup. That match will be the second of Friday's evening session, which is due to start at 7pm BST. And he will play it with his longtime rival Rafael Nadal.
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