Former competitive rival of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer hopes the Spaniard is able to retire from the sport “on his own terms” as injuries continue to trouble the 37-year-old. Earlier this year, Nadal was forced to miss out on the French Open for the first time in 18 years and is also absent from Wimbledon. He has not played since he sustained a hip injury at the Australian Open in January.
Roger Federer hopes his former tennis rival Rafael Nadal can “retire on his own terms” after injuries which have prevented the Spaniard from competing in back-to-back Grand Slams.
Nadal, 37, was forced to sit out of the French Open for the first time since 2004 – a tournament he has dominated for 18 years – as well as Wimbledon, a Grand Slam he’s won twice.
His long absence is due to a hip injury he suffered during the Australian Open and he has since struggled to make a return to competitive tennis because of ongoing issues and a lack of fitness.
Towards the end of his career injuries got the better of Federer, who sympathises with Nadal as the 22-time Grand Slam winner’s career edges to a close.
“I mean, all of us: [Andy] Murray, [Novak] Djokovic, Nadal and me, I think the four of us when I retired were all sitting there crying about me retiring – or because of the music, who knows,” Federer told CNN.
“Everybody had their own reasons why they were crying. I think you realise how fortunate we are to still be playing at this later stage of our careers because tennis players used to retire at 30.
Roger Federer tells the story of his retirement ❤️🐐 pic.twitter.com/T6gIj0JCIy
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“I mean, 26 for [Björn] Borg, 32 for [Pete] Sampras, 36 for [Andre] Agassi. This was like playing deep and now here we are all sitting there around 35-40.
“We all know how fortunate we are and so I think Rafa knew that, too. So seeing him going through this more difficult period now, obviously I’ve been there and I just hope that he can go out on his terms [and] he can still play a little bit.
“I still hope we’ll see not just the doubles like I did, but more than that. I still believe that’s going to happen.”
Federer remains hopeful that there is a future on the court for Nadal, but what about a return to tennis himself?
He has become somewhat of a part-time coach to his four children since his retirement last September but doesn’t see the appeal of returning to the tour full-time.
However, it’s not something the 41-year-old has ruled out entirely.
“I think the coaching on the tour like we know it I think is difficult for me,” he said. “Having four children at the age of, twin boys nine now and twin girls 14, I want to be there for them and I can’t see myself going on tour, honestly.
“If it’s mentoring or if somebody comes to Switzerland and says: ‘Look, let’s have a good week,’ I can see that in the future happening. I mean, Stefan Edberg never thought he was going to coach and he ended up coming on tour with me for two years.”