Tennis great Roger Federer has revealed his knee injury is to blame for his retirement, saying he “stopped believing” after playing Wimbledon last year.
The 20-time grand slam champion announced he would be making his final professional appearance at the Laver Cup in London on Friday, where he will play one last doubles match.
Italian Matteo Berrettini, the first alternate for the team tournament, will then take Federer’s place over the weekend.
His retirement comes after he lost to Hubert Hurkacz in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals, and as he has continued to battle with an ongoing knee problem.
“The last three years have been tough, to say the least,” the 41-year-old told BBC Breakfast.
“I knew I was on very thin ice for the last year, ever since I played Wimbledon. I tried to come back, but there was a limit to what I could do. And I stopped believing in it, to be honest.”
The Swiss national said he “very quickly” realised his career was coming to an end following a scan a few months ago.
“Then the question becomes: how do you announce and when do you announce? This is when it becomes reality. It was OK but stressful,” the father of four added.
What is Federer’s plan for the future?
While he admitted there are still things to figure out, Federer said his immediate retirement plan is to go on holiday with his family.
However, he hinted that he could be a coach in the future, saying he would “love” to “mentor children and get a new Swiss superstar going”.
“I love this game and I want to stay involved in some shape or form. I won’t be a ghost or a stranger,” the star added.
Speaking about his rivals, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, he said: “All of a sudden there was this beautiful mix, we’re all winning for 10 plus years, all the same tournaments, almost nobody else could win anything else.
“It was like a lock on the big tournaments.
“So I think, also for the fans, it’s been a joy to watch, and I’m sure some fans will be sad I’m leaving, of course, but then again, there will always be wonderful new people.”