Roger Federer is one of tennis’s all-time greats, having secured 19 Grand Slam titles and he has been victorious at SW19 on eight occasions. The ageless Swiss star finished 2017 as number two in the world but has dropped the occasional hint that he may not continue playing for too much longer. Will 2018 be the final time tennis fans get to witness the 36-year-old competing on Centre Court?
In recent interviews, Federer has suggested he won’t be competing for Switzerland in forthcoming Davis Cup events, thus making him ineligible to feature at the Olympics. Whilst he was quick to deny that he has officially retired from Davis Cup duty, he did admit: “It’s highly unlikely that I’ll play at this stage of my career.”
This isn’t the first time that the majestic Swiss player has hinted at retirement, with many fans believing he wouldn’t return from an injury-hit spell that saw him miss the 2016 French and US Open and playing just ten Grand Slam matches throughout the calendar year.
Federer roared back into action wrapping up the Australian Open with an unexpected victory over Rafa Nadal in Melbourne before adding Wimbledon title number eight to his impressive collection. He has already been priced up as 11/4 favourite in the latest tennis odds to make it successive Wimbledon championships in 2018 as he hopes to continue his domination in West London.
Federer is likely to face stiff competition from the returning Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic who both missed the latter stages of the 2017 season and Grigor Dimitrov who wrapped the ATP Tour Final in London and has his eyes on a first-ever Grand Slam.
Federer turns 37 in August and although he is showing no signs of slowing down, he has been open to discussing the prospect of hanging up his racket. He told reporters: “I know I’m not 22 anymore, but I don’t have a date”, when questioned about ending his career. He explained that several factors will need to conspire in order for him to retire but as long as both his body and family allow him to travel and compete, he wishes to continue playing at the highest level.
He is showing no ill effects of the knee injury which saw him out of action for six months but he is having to largely rely on his nous and reading of the game as opposed to pace and ability to move around the court.
The father of four relishes the grass court season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him skip the French Open once more in order to prepare himself for another tilt at the SW19 title. He hasn’t missed Wimbledon since 1999 and clearly enjoys the unique nature of the third Grand Slam of the year. His record is outstanding here, having only failed to reach the latter stages of the competition once in 14 attempts and the crowd clearly love watching him compete at the tournament.
Federer’s resurgence has been fairly unpredictable and few could have foreseen his success in 2017. He is gearing up for another hectic season and is aiming to compete in his 20th consecutive Wimbledon this year. Fans are hoping it won’t be his last appearance in West London but his hints about scaling down his commitments suggest retirement may not be that far away.