Roger Federer will retire after the Laver Cup

Roger Federer will retire after the Laver Cup

Roger Federer will retire after the Laver Cup

Roger Federer leaves the stage. In a message published Thursday afternoon on his social networks, he announced the news that everyone feared despite having had time to assimilate it slowly from his very last match in official competition, Wednesday 7 July 2021. quarter-finals of Wimbledon, at the Center Court, where he will have written the most famous pages of his legend. Soon after, his recalcitrant knee had forced him to go through the operating table again. Despite the desire to return, and perhaps even more so to return to play, he ended up giving up.

Twenty-four years of a legendary career are about to end. There is everything that the books will keep coldly and everything that those who have known it will keep preciously warm. It is essential to distinguish between the two, because the legacy that a champion leaves to his sport often goes beyond the coldness of numbers and schedules. This is perhaps even more true in his case than in others.

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A gigantic track record

But Federer is also a winner. 20 Grand Slam titles. Otto in Wimbledon, his garden. Five at the US Open, collected consecutively between 2004 and 2008, when no one has managed to hold the title for even a year since. Six crowns in Australia. And this little Roland-Garros, won in 2009, has come to fill a hole that, without this Coupe des Mousquetaires, would have remained open-mouthed. We will add six Masters wins, one record, 28 Masters 1000, one Davis Cup (the real one) and 103 titles in total, making him one of two centenarians in this field, behind Jimmy Connors.

For those unfamiliar with Roger Federer, these few lines full of statistics would say a lot, but not necessarily the essential. It will therefore be necessary to tell those who will come after us who Roger Federer really was and why seeing him play was an experience bordering on pleasure.

You may or may not have loved him, preferred other champions, but it was impossible not to recognize that he was unique. A kind of ideal player. Not invincible (even if he has dominated scandalously for several years), Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic even managing to overcome him, but of a different nature, almost indefinable.

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Everyone will then add the word that suits them best. Classicism, in the noblest sense of the word. Talent. Elegance. Class. Beauty. Purity. A little of all this, probably. He is not the first champion to be joined by such virtues and hopefully not the last, but no one has ever carried such a high standard for so long and this suit fit him better than anyone else.

Federer, genius and icon

Like all geniuses, the Swiss gave the feeling that what he produced in the field was of absolute simplicity. The person, in the stands or in front of his TV, could almost feel the evidence of what was being offered, while he measured the inaccessibility of the thing. This is the magic of genius: this subtle alloy of absolute simplicity and unattainable. In the world of sports, few people have it. As for tennis, he was the only one.

Since it was unique, such a specimen cannot be replaced. Overwhelmed, yes, perhaps, by the thickness of the rankings and his two companions of the “Big 3” who, like everyone else, must feel a bit strange this Thursday, did not hesitate to face this task which nevertheless seemed insurmountable ten or twelve Years ago.

Beyond the player and the champion, Roger Federer had become a total icon of modern tennis, capable of making winter tours in South America where he was welcomed like the Beatles at the height of their splendor. This ambassador status, he learned to hire it and it seems he liked it. This is also what London will be celebrating in a week, at Laver, “His” Laver Cup, where he will appear for the last time as a player. Do not miss.

At 41, Roger Federer now belongs forever to the history of tennis and memories. In one as in the other, he will easily contain a monumental and unique place. It is the luxury of his inheritance. He leaves memories and takes everything else with him.

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