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By Richard Pagliaro | Tennis Now | Sunday September 25, 2022

 
Roger Federer

What's next for Roger Federer now that his last match has been played. The Swiss isn't sure just yet...

Photo Source: Getty

A strained voice and sore hands afflicted Roger Federer in this Laver Cup farewell.

The 41-year-old Swiss superstar "almost lost my voice" and his hands hurt from clapping for his Team Europe teammates.

Tennis Express

Federer showed plenty of vocal support from the Team Europe bench, but Team World floored the four-time Laver Cup champions with a Sunday sweep to capture the Laver Cup.

A fierce Frances Tiafoe fought off four match points and played a pair of tremendous tiebreakers stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6(11), 10-8 to clinch Team World’s maiden Laver Cup championship in an exhilarating eruption of emotion at London’s O2 Arena.

Federer felt the outpouring of love, respect and goodwill from teammates, family, friends and the packed O2 Arena crowd in his Friday night farewell.

Now that the 20-time Grand Slam champion has officially closed the curtain on his career what will he miss most?

Federer said the three Cs: competition, camaraderie and connection with fans and fellow players are the three things he will miss the most, but reiterated he’s ready to move on to his new life.

“[I will miss] the people, the fans, interactions, and sometimes the travels,” Federer said. “It’s been a great fun time on the tour, but I feel super ready to do different things in my life and take time away and speak to my family and see where we want to go from here.

“I had a wonderful time on tour. Made so many friends, as well, you know, along the way. Also being on court on Friday and having such a huge moment in my career, you know, being surrounded by my biggest rivals like Novak and Andy and Rafa, I mean, was truly unique, and I can never thank them enough for being there and staying there and going through it with me. I hope that their farewell will also be unique and special, that it works for them, because it was beautiful for me. Now, moving forward, yeah, it’s going to be different but good different.”

Winning Team World captain John McEnroe, who exuberantly danced on court after a dramatic comeback win, confirmed he will be back for Laver Cup’s sixth edition in Vancouver next year. Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg said he’d be happy to return for one final season.

“This is the fifth year, and if we can be one more year at six years, three times in Europe and three times in North America, that would be perfect,” Borg said. “I’m very happy to do one more, like John, too, to spend with these great players.”

Speculation has swirled among players, including Andy Murray and Tennis Channel commentator Andy Roddick, that Federer will eventually succeed his buddy Borg as Team Europe captain.

Federer said while he has no immediate plans to captain Team Europe, “who knows, maybe one day” we will see him in the captain’s chair.

“No plans there. Bjorn’s doing a great job. Thomas [Enqvist] as well, supporting him all the way,” Federer said. “It’s been great fun. Who knows, maybe one day, but we don’t have any plans so far.

“Right now I'm just looking forward to coming to Vancouver next year. I think the city is going to be great. I hope again we have a very strong team. I went through all different types of Laver Cups so far: the first one, the winning teams, now this time on the losing team, then also one where I was hurt last year but seeing it more from the stands and from the fans’ perspective, and now deep on the inside with retirement.

“I have enjoyed the Laver Cup in many different ways, and next year again will be totally different – I’m looking forward to it.”

Laver Cup has been successful because it fulfills its mission statement of “Rivals become teammates” as it masterfully and respectfully combines tradition and innovation. Laver Cup creator Federer is co-owner of Team 8 management, which represents several stars, including Coco Gauff.

Could we see Federer re-engage in the game as a tournament owner, commentator, creator of charity exhibition events or even in an executive role with one of the game’s governing bodies?

For now, Federer says he’s focused on his upcoming family vacation before deciding on his next steps in the sport.

“Not really keen to go into politics, to be honest, in this way,” Federer said. “Did some of it, was good in moments, but also sometimes not the best, you know.

“I need to step away from it and then maybe take a different direction. If I can be of any help, not an official role, I’ll always be there. An official role at the moment, I don’t see that.”

The owner of 103 titles never once retired from a match in his career. Ultimately, Federer’s farewell was both a celebration of his career and his role as a beautifully unifying spirit for the sport.

Federer, whose artistry and ardor made him the ideal tennis ambassador, aims to remain connected to the game, and that should thrill the legions that lined up to bid him farewell this weekend in London.

 

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