Roger Federer’s former coach reveals inside story on retirement plan

Roger Federer and Ivan Ljubicic

Roger Federer’s former coach Ivan Ljubicic has revealed he knew about the Swiss legend’s plan to retire long before his emotional farewell in London.

A tearful Federer walked away from the game after playing his final match alongside friend and rival Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup, with the emotional scenes touching fans around the world.

Now Ljubicic had told Eurosport that Federer’s decision to quit was made some time ago, as his hopes of a return to action after knee surgery were always likely to be forlorn.

“We obviously knew a little bit more in advance,” Ljubicic told Eurosport.

“We could prepare for it, but it is hard. It is hard. I knew Roger would struggle emotionally, of course, I think everyone expected that. But for me personally, the trigger was to see others – Rafa, Novak and Andy – the whole thing was really emotional.

“Then you see Team World and wherever you look, you look around and everyone is in tears. It is really difficult to go through that moment, but in the end, we decided that it is a celebration.

“It is not a funeral, nobody died, it is all good – so we have to move on and celebrate who Roger is, what he brought to our sport, and what he will keep bringing in the future because, as he said, he is not going anywhere.

“He is not going to be playing any competitive matches, but he is definitely going to be close to our sport. He loves it too much to not be connected to it.

“I think this week (Laver Cup), this moment, was for the fans. For everybody here in London and watching from home. We, who are lucky enough to be closer to him will have more of those private moments.

“We try to kind of be ready for it and not make too big of a deal about it because, in the end, he is still around. We are still going to spend time together. It was not easy and it was tough to get up in the morning, that is for sure.”

Federer has hinted he would consider a farewell tour to thank fans for their support, but his knee problem may make it tough for him to play singles matches.

“This is not the end, end, you know, life goes on. I’m healthy, I’m happy, everything’s great and this is just a moment in time. This is obviously supposed to be like this,” he said after his final match.

“Weeks ago, for a fact, I was so scared of this moment that it really worried me.

“I have no plans whatsoever like where, how, when. All I know is I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank yous for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me,” he said during a press conference that did not finish until after 2am on Saturday.

“Because the hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. You know, the people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it.

“Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”