Roger Federer: Happy to retire first; Looking forward to watching the 'Big Four' from my coach
- Roger Federer is set to play his final ATP match on Friday
- It is a doubles match alongside Rafael Nadal
- Federer ends his decorated career with 20 Grand Slams
Roger Federer has said that he is "happy" to retire first among the 'Big Four' and is looking forward to watching his rivals, "from the couch", battle out on the court.
Federer announced his retirement from professional retirement earlier this month and his doubles match with Rafael Nadal in Laver Cup on Friday (Sept. 23) is going to be the final game of his active career.
"I am happy they are going to have more battles. I'm going to be watching from the couch or the bed, wherever, so it's going to feel good," Federer told Eurosport.
Federer, whose last game was at Wimbledon last year, has had three surgeries in the last one and a half years. His injury issue is so much that the Swiss legend has decided not to play a singles game in his last ATP event.
"I'm happy to go first because I am the oldest of the bunch. I tried long and hard to come back for the last few years and this is the right moment to go out," Federer added.
Federer, along with Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray is a part of Team Europe in the Laver Cup. The team also includes a few young players including Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini.
The captain of Team Europe, John McEnroe, has said the void left by Federer in tennis will never be filled.
"I remember six years ago when he limped off the court at Wimbledon, didn't play for six months, and ended up winning three majors in the next 18 months. Obviously, there's a void that will never be filled," said McEnroe.
Meanwhile, 14-time Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras, who also shared a rivalry with Federer, heaped praise on the former World No. 1, calling him a truly special player.
"Little did I know, 20 years later, that you would have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport -- basically do it all. Federer is a truly a special player," Sampras was quoted as saying in an interview.
Federer was the first man to reach 20 Grand Slam titles, but owning to the injuries, the 41-year-old player never managed to add to that tally. His arch-rival and good friend, Nadal, now holds the record for the most major titles among men with 22 titles, one more than Djokovic.
Out of the 20 Grand Slams, Federer won eight at Wimbledon, which is still a record. Apart from the French Open, Federer won the other three major competitions multiple times.
The Swiss legend spent 310 weeks as the ATP World No. 1 player, which was a record back then before Djokovic broke it in March 2021.
First game against Federer allowed me to believe I belonged here, says Djokovic
Djokovic has a superior head-to-head of 27-23 against Federer in ATP events. The Serbian faced Federer in his first Grand Slam final in 2007 at the US Open. Despite losing, Djokovic recalled the clash as one of his most memorable against the Swiss.
"I'll pick my first Grand Slam final, US Open 2007. I lost that match. That was the first Grand Slam final obviously, was [a] remarkable experience for me at the time. Kind of the first match that allowed me to believe that I belonged to that level," said Djokovic.