The notion of retiring at the age of 28 sounds absolutely ridiculous. I've been battered and bruised in my lifetime (mostly from the Army) and don't feel great every day, but the notion of retirement seems very strange.
That concept, however, might not seem so ridiculous to Roger Federer. He recently took home his first career French Open title, which simultaneously tied Pete Sampras' 14 career titles and made Roger only the 6th mens player to complete the career slam — winning each of the four majors at least once.
Federer is certainly still young — three years younger than Sampras was when he claimed his 14th, to be exact — but I have to wonder if he sees the end of the line ahead.
A primary motivation is obviously that Federer has absolutely nothing left to prove. The odds are extremely high that he'll pass Sampras' record, given that Federer was five-time defending champ at Wimbledon until Rafael Nadal's win last year, and is currently five-time defending champ at the U.S. Open. If you've won every major tournament, with multiple wins at multiple majors, what else is left to do?
Another concern is his body. Sure he isn't as old as players like Sampras or Agassi were when they retired, but that doesn't mean a lot, since everyone ages a bit differently. What concerns me is he seems a bit worn down. For the first time ever, Federer decided to skip his annual pre-Wimbledon tournament because he still felt "overwhelmed and exhausted" from the French Open.
That notion is bolstered a bit by Federer not playing consistently good tennis. He was break point away from being down two sets to none and down 5-3 in the third set of his fourth round match before finding the will to win that game and 14 of the next 16 games to win in five sets. Sure, that's a great story, but if he's having those kinds of matches against players like Tommy Haas in the fourth round, he's no longer someone that is a dominant and intimidating force to his opponent.
Also, he might want to consider stepping down before someone tries to knock his head off with a forehand volley. I appreciate that Roger is a great player who has accomplished a lot (and is frequently compared to Tiger Woods in that sense), but he has got to watch what he says.
In a recent post-French Open win interview with ESPN, Federer was asked how his rivalry with Nadal compares with the Agassi-Sampras rivalry. Fast forward to the good part at the four-and-a-half-minute mark. To paraphrase, Federer thinks that specifically Nadal, and the entire men's tour in general, has not helped him nearly as much as he has helped them. I don't care who you are, that's about the most pompous thing you could possibly say.
Federer wants to hang around long enough to play in the 2012 Olympics and probably wouldn't mind getting a French Open title where he actually beats Nadal, but it wouldn't be unrealistic for him to just tap out with all of his myriad records and money and simply live the good life.Powered by Sidelines