ROGER FEDERER asked about retirement within 13 years.

The first questions arose after he defeated Robin Soderling at Roland Garros in May 2009. With the win on clay, he became the sixth player in tennis history to retire from a Grand Slam tournament.

- Advertisement -

Reaching this milestone may have caused complacency. He had just married and was also about to become a father for the first time. What else did he have to achieve?

- Advertisement -

A month later, Federer won Wimbledon for the sixth time and at the same time beat his hero Pete Sampras by one record (14 Grand Slam tournaments). When he later talked about his victory, the slogan on his T-shirt read: “There is no finish line. Not all yet.”

- Advertisement -

He has since added five more Slams along with six ATP Finals victories. He has many incredible records: his eight Wimbledon men’s singles titles don’t count on their own, and his 369 Grand Slam tennis wins are also a record.

But now, at 41, his body no longer meets the expectations of his mind on the court. Finally, he made it to the finish line.

“I know the possibilities and limits of my body, and lately his message has become clear to me,” he said Thursday in his retirement announcement. “I have played over 1500 matches in 24 years. Tennis has been more generous to me than I could ever have dreamed of and now I have to know when it’s time to end my sporting career.”

However, his legacy goes far beyond the 20 Grand Slams he won. Without the annual joy of seeing him at home on Center Court at Wimbledon, tennis seems different. And a little empty.

We’ve seen Federer go from a hot-tempered teenager to a player who made history and transcended the sport. He has millions of fans around the world. He is a style icon, philanthropist and face of Swiss tourism. He is a husband and father of four children. And for many, his last name is superfluous: he is Roger.

UNDERSTAND ROGER Federer must capture sports harmony. He talks about his strategy of fire and ice: a combination of a burning desire to succeed and a composure that allows him to maintain composure. His career has been a story of how the mind and body worked together like clockwork to create an aesthetically delightful state of tennis, and a method that led to incredible success.

There have been key moments of fluke throughout his career, starting when he grew up near Basel, Switzerland, close to the border of France and Germany. Among the tennis trophies of his youth were posters of Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan. He loved basketball and was also a capable footballer, supporting the local club Basel. But there was something about the solitary nature of tennis and self-reporting that appealed to him.

Winning at Junior Wimbledon in 1998 woke him up in the mind of a tennis player, but then he had a reputation for losing his temper: he often broke his rackets, shouted at the sun and scolded himself and others for something that did not go according to plan.

He grew up idolizing Sampras, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker. He tried to repeat their choice of shot over and over again, but it didn’t quite work. He lost momentum during matches and later regretted the decisions and shots he played.

He used to struggle with homesickness at the national tennis center in Ekublen (105 miles from Basel). He cried for half an hour after defeats. He was alone. His father, Robert, encouraged him to continue, knowing that there was talent there. He set a goal for Federer to be in the top 100 so he could earn enough tournament winnings to cover his own journey.

This experience was a formative moment for the young Federer. He was a talented player, but at that time it was believed that the teenager had a tricky backhand and a tendency to capitulate if the match lasted more than two hours. He hated talking to the media for fear of what they would say about him.

Federer says his moment of insight came after a disappointing loss at the Hamburg Masters in May 2001. He lost the first round to Argentine Franco Skillari 6-3, 6-4.

“My behavior was so bad that I was upset with myself and that’s why I decided to stay calm and I did it,” he said in a post-match interview. “I would say that I became too calm, so people looked at me as an uncompetitive guy. I didn’t know how to find a balance between two mental states: anger and calm.”

A month later, he had another breakthrough at Wimbledon. He defeated Sampras in the fourth round, which was his first match on Center Court. He kept his composure but still lacked consistency overall and was knocked out in four sets by Tim Henman in the next round.

“I realized that I wanted to return to this court one day, I would like to compete regularly with these guys, I prefer to play on big courts than on small ones … suddenly it started to make sense,” Federer later said. “Why do you train with weights. Why are you running. Why do you arrive early for the tournament. Why do you try to sleep well at night. We have just begun to understand the importance of every single detail. Because it matters.”

Then, a year later, in August 2002, his mentor and former coach, Peter Carter, was killed in a car accident in South Africa. From that moment on, Federer changed his mindset from a racket-smashing teenager to someone who was much better at handling his emotions. In 2019, Federer said of Carter, “I guess he didn’t want me to be a wasted talent, so I guess his death was a bit of a wake-up call for me and I really started to train hard.” “

Federer has been working on his fitness and strength with longtime coach Pier Paganini and also interacted with a sports psychologist. The shots he used to imitate suddenly landed in the right areas of the court. The harmony between mind and body allowed him to fulfill his potential and develop into a man capable of winning several Grand Slam tournaments.

The first of his 20 wins came at Wimbledon in 2003 when he defeated Marc Philippoussis in the final 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3). Federer collapsed to the Center Court lawn in tears when Philippoussis landed a backhand into the net at match point.

He later revealed how his defeat in 2001 made him wonder if he missed his chance. Instead, he promised to learn from experience. “It showed me how important a positive attitude is,” he later said.

THERE IS A SCHOOL Federer’s best period is considered to have been between 2004 and 2010. It was #1 in the world for a record 237 consecutive weeks from February 2004 to August 2008. During this time, he held 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals in a row. He won 12 of them.

And then that summer of 2009, which marked the turning point in Federer’s journey.

It was the fourth round of Roland Garros. He had two sets and a break point to Tommy Haas; lose a point and Haas would serve for the match. Federer filed a backhand from Haas who backhanded it back to Federer’s backhand.

Then Federer did this incredible thing that only he can dowhere he moves his entire body in the air to create a meter of space to allow him to unleash a right hand. The ball went at an angle of almost 45 degrees to kiss the chalk, the winner turned the game into a deuce. He will take this set and the next one to love it and serve to win in five sets. Three matches later, he won his first Roland Garros title.

That triumph at Roland Garros in 2009 is still considered the biggest victory for Federer. He became only the sixth man to win all four Slams, after Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi. (Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would later hit eight.)

“That was probably my biggest win, I was under a lot of pressure,” he said after the match. A month later, he won Wimbledon for the sixth time. The net in the final against Roddick is his most prized possession.

“Losing in the semi-finals and finals was never good enough for me,” Federer said at the time. “After five years of ‘you’re so cool’ and compliments, it was difficult to praise other players – too much good about other players and bad about yourself makes you think. I proved people wrong. “

He then became a father, and in July 2009, his wife Mirka gave birth to their first pair of twins, Mila Rose and Charlene Riva.

Federer’s life has changed.

FEDEER STILL HOLDS an incredible feat to never retire from a tour due to an injury. His body allowed him to play through the pain. But now he feels these bumps and scratches more than himself in his youth. Throughout his career, he was plagued by back problems, but in later life he was troubled by his right knee.

He approached it like he would other setbacks or obstacles in his career. Federer adapted his game to new challenges. He learned a new backhand to deal with Nadal’s forehand. In 2015 at the Cincinnati Masters, he deployed a technique known as the SABR (Roger’s Stealth Attack), in which he attacked the opponent’s second serve, mostly standing on the serve line and then dominating the net.

He managed to evade surgery until 2016, when he injured his left knee. It was a harmless incident that happened while he was taking a bath for his daughters. As he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, his left knee buckled.

He later admitted that he was “frightened” when he saw his bandaged knee.

But then, after recovering, he won the 18th Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open, defeating Nadal in five sets in the final. It was the first time a male player had won 18, and it was all the more impressive for him, just a year after contemplating his death in tennis.

By February 2018, he was back on top of the world after adding another Wimbledon title and an Australian Open crown. At 36 years and 195 days old, he was the oldest man to ever top the rankings.

But his body began to creak, and the once predictable narrative around Federer began to fade. In 2019, he had two…