By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday, September 22, 2022
On Wednesday in London, Roger Federer gave a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Laver Cup competition. The 41-year-old Swiss talked about the bittersweetness he feels at the end of his career, and the process he went through this summer to finally take the decision to retire.
Though he would have loved for his career to continue, Federer can still boast incredible longevity in the sport, as the all-time leader in Grand Slam match wins, the oldest Wimbledon champion and the oldest man to ever hold the ATP’s No.1 ranking.
When asked what he was most proud of, the Swiss legend quickly pointed to longevity, and mentioned that he found it incredibly rewarding to go from an unreliable, inconsistent player in his early 20s to one of the most steady, consistent forces in the sport – a player that reachedd a record 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals and 36 Grand Slam quarterfinals in succession.
“I think, and I mentioned this in interviews in the past maybe, and this is maybe an appropriate time to say this again, is the longevity for me,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. “I was famous for being quite erratic at the beginning of my career. If you maybe remember, I was famous for being not so consistent, you know, and then to become one of the most consistent players ever is quite a shock to me, as well.”
The owner of 103 ATP titles and 1251 match victories once spent 237 consecutive weeks at No.1. In total, Federer finished inside the ATP’s Top-10 a record 18 times.
He says being able to spend two decades at the top of the sport, with a chance to win any tournament he entered, has been extremely rewarding.
“That has been I think a great accomplishment for me personally that people can judge, if they think that’s the case too, but for me, that is something I have really enjoyed and that I have been able to stay at the top for so long and compete for any tournament I would enter and really go out there and say, like, I hope I can win the tournament for, I don’t know, let’s say 15-plus years,” he said. “That has been a privilege, sitting at the press conference and being able to say that and not just saying, ‘Oh, quarters would be great.’ “ Those were the first few years of my career. But it was for so long of course that I also almost got used to it.”
Federer says that one of the most pleasant surprises of his career has been to embrace the process that took him from a young, unproven player with talent and a reputation for falling short of expectations to a proven, iconic legend of the sport who now gains mention at the top of the sporting world.
“I think, looking back, that has a special meaning to me because I always looked to the Michael Schumachers, Tiger Woods, all the other guys that stayed for so long at the top that I didn’t understand how they did it,” he said. “Next thing you know, you’re part of that group, and it’s been a great feeling.”