Tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams have not played since the last year’s Wimbledon. Still, they are both eager to extend their careers, despite turning 41 in the upcoming months. Roger spoke about their longevity after the last year’s Wimbledon, saying they have found a way to stay happy and motivated on the court.
Federer was still ranked inside the top 10 in August last year, mainly thanks to his results from 2019 and two solid Major runs in 2020 and 2021. The 20-time Major winner experienced a severe knee injury at the beginning of 2020, undergoing two surgeries and staying away from the court for 13 months.
Roger played only one tournament in 2020 and returned in March 2021 in Doha, shaping his form and targeting Wimbledon as his prime goal. Playing four events ahead of his 22nd Wimbledon, Federer scored five triumphs and gave his best at the All England Club to become the oldest Wimbledon quarter-finalist in the Open era.
Roger beat Mannarino, Gasquet, Norrie and Sonego to book a place in the last eight before suffering a heavy loss to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets. Speaking about his longevity ahead of Wimbledon, Federer recalled his conversation with Pete Sampras from ten years ago, when the American wondered when Roger would retire, even though he was 30.
Roger did not retire at 33 or 34, but he extended his career after that nasty knee injury in 2016 and became world no. 1 in 2018 at 36. The Swiss had another memorable run in 2019 before another knee injury that has halted him to six tournaments in the past three seasons.
Roger Federer and Serena Williams have not played for a year. “You would think that Serena and I have found ways to keep ourselves happy, motivated and entertained, not let the negatives dominate our daily struggles. Now, with the family and all of that, I think it’s essential. When you have family, it’s much easier to walk away from it all. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Maybe it’s arguably easier to stay happier and motivated when you are in this position.
At the same time, only the best is good enough for us. I do not think my goal was to play until 40 or more. It was maybe more like 35, which was already a high number. Borg retired early, while Agassi played a bit longer. Also, Edberg, Becker and Pistol Pete were all retiring earlier.
I remembered a conversation with Pistol Pete ten years ago. He was wondering how much more I had in the tank. This was when I was turning 30. He thought I was coming towards the end just because it was normal to end a career at 33 after all the sacrifices you must go through, making it hard to keep pushing for more years.
I think I made the most of it; I enjoyed my travels and made it fun with Mirka, family and the team. The goal was not to play until 40; it all mainly came in the previous years. I never thought I would still be going after those surgeries in 2020. I feel I still love the sport and enjoy myself. I will see about the results if they come back,” Roger Federer said.