Roger Federer’s decision to retire ‘a smart decision’ – ‘It’s a miracle what he’s done in the past five years’

Roger Federer celebrates

He has worked with Roger Federer for more than two decades and fitness coach Pierre Paganini has described the tennis great’s decision to hang up his racket as “a wise decision” and a “relief”.

Having played very little tennis over the past three years due to a knee injury, Federer announced last week that he is to retire after this week’s Laver Cup.

“I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear,” he wrote. “I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1500 matches over 24 years.

“Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.”

Tributes have been flowing from his fellow tennis players 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 21-time Slam champion Novak Djokovic and the general sporting community with the likes of Lionel Messi and Sachin Tendulkar hailing the Swiss maestro.

Although the decision to call it a day was not an easy one, Paganini says the retirement announcement has been brewing since July.

“As someone who is in the inner circle, you know how Roger thinks. That doesn’t happen spontaneously on Thursday at quarter past three,” he told Blick.

He added: “Since July, when he started combining the different training elements, he has noticed that he has to make more and more detours and put in extra effort. He had to make greater efforts for relatively low intensity.”

When asked if it is the right time to walk away after 24 years on the ATP Tour, Paganini replied: “It is not my place to judge. I was one of his coaches for 22 years, which is an incredible privilege.

“I am fortunate to have worked with this extraordinary athlete and person. But if you ask me for my opinion: I think it’s a smart decision.

“It’s not just about the knee. Roger has played a lot of matches in his career and put his body under extreme strain. He’s had to put in an incredible amount of effort in recent years to compete at a world-class level.

“Imagine how many training sessions a top athlete has done up to the age of 41! It’s a miracle to me how he’s done for the past five years. That’s why I think this decision is so wise.”

Quitting now also means Federer will be able to live a normal life away from tennis without physical problems.

“You can retire from the ATP Tour, but maybe you still want to live out your passion for tennis,” he said. “Roger’s resignation is also a relief for me. We don’t want him to get injured again and then have physical problems in his future.

“In top-class sport you have to go to the limits in training – but you also have to be able to decide when it’s too much.”

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