Analysis: Whatever, whenever Federer decides, its up to him


If this really was it for Roger Federer at Wimbledon and no one knows for sure either way right now, not even the man himself then both he and his fans should take solace from this: He will be heading out on his own terms and still at an elite level. Just maybe not the exact terms and level he would prefer, given that he lost in the quarterfinals at the All England Club to someone new to Grand Slam success.

And if this wasnt it, if Federer does return to the site of eight of his 20 Grand Slam triumphs, then all the better for the sport.

His 40th birthday is a month from Thursday, and what matters the most at the moment is that he make his own choices, for his own reasons, on his own timeline. Well, with input from his coaches, his trainer, his agent, his family and whatever other opinions Federer values.

“Obviously, were going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days, as well. Then we go from there. Just see: OK, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?” Federer said Wednesday night after exiting with a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0 defeat against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.


On Friday, Hurkacz faces Matteo Berrettini, and Novak Djokovic meets Denis Shapovalov. Only Djokovic has appeared in the Wimbledon semifinals previously.

“Im actually very happy I made it as far as I did here and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did, after everything I went through,” Federer said. “Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age, youre just never sure whats around the corner.” He doesnt know if hell enter Wimbledon again. He also doesnt think retirement is imminent.

Two years ago, Federer came as close as possible to his ninth trophy at the All England Club and 21st at any major, holding two championship points against Djokovic.

But Federer didnt convert either and ended up on the wrong end of a fifth-set tiebreaker. When he needed two operations on his right knee in 2020, what pushed him through the recovery was a desire to get back to his favorite tournaments grass courts.

“You need a goal when youre going through rehab with what I did. You cant think of the entire mountain to climb as once. Youve got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial, first super step, if you like,” Federer said. “For me, now that thats over, youve just got to reassess everything.” Federer chats regularly with his team to figure out next steps. Where he should play. Whether his body needs rest. How he can improve. And so on.

Theres a lot to discuss, including if hell go to the Tokyo Olympics.

Whats not up for debate, and Federer doesnt hide it, is that he is not who he used to be. Of course not.

Still, he was good enough to be one of the last eight men standing of the 128 in the Wimbledon bracket.

“Clearly, theres still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays, they dont happen naturally anymore. Ive got to always put in the extra effort, mentally, to remind myself: Remember to do this or do that,” he said. “I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I cant do what I want to do. I think its a bit of a tricky situation, sometimes.” Whats not tricky: We shouldnt judge Federers choices about whether to walk away.

Andy Murrays situation is somewhat similar: Hes 34 and trying to compete after two hip operations.

His first singles appearance at Wimbledon since 2017 ended with a third-round loss. Afterward, he sounded glum.

Before Wimbledon, Murray was asked about Federers contributions to tennis. The answer veered to Federers future.

Murray, a three-time major champion, noted people have speculated for years about when Federer might be done.

“I dont quite understand because Ive experienced it myself just sort of why people want to always ask those question about when someone is going to finish. Hell do it when hes ready, Murray said. “I wish everyone would start, like, encouraging him to keep going and keep playing as long as he can, as long as his body can do it, because well miss him when its over.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)