Roger Federer lifts lid on the day he didn’t want to be at Wimbledon – ‘It was a crushing feeling’

Shahida Jacobs
Roger Federer interview at Wimbledon

Roger Federer is synonymous with Wimbledon’s Centre Court, but there was a day when he felt he didn’t want to be at the All England Club’s famous court.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner retired from tennis in September 2022 with his last-ever Wimbledon match coming the previous year on the showpiece court when he lost in the quarter-final against Hubert Hurkacz.

However, he did make an appearance at the All England Club (AELTC) in July last year as he took part in the Centre Court centenary celebrations as he joined fellow Wimbledon legends Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Martina Hingis, Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on the hallowed court to mark the occasion.

But while it was a proud moment for the eight-time champion, there was an easy feeling.

He was back on Centre Court this year as AELTC honoured him for his record-breaking achievements at Wimbledon and this time he was “content and at peace”.

In an interview with Wall Street Journal, he revealed the moment when he was had that “twisted feeling” on Centre Court.

“My dad leaned over and asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you want to be on the court right now instead of just sitting here?’ And I was, ‘Oh, my God, no. I’m so happy sitting here.’ I felt very content and at peace, sitting and not playing.

“Because a year before, when there was the 100th-year celebration of Centre Court, I felt that I maybe didn’t want to be there. It was important for me to be there, but it was a crushing feeling I had, a twisted feeling I had.

“This year, I was very happy to be back there. And the people were happy to see me happy.”

The 42-year-old retired after struggling to overcome a serious knee injury. The problem first occurred at the beginning of the 2020 campaign and he missed the rest of the tennis season. After several attempted comebacks he finally acknowledged in 2022 that his playing days were over.

Although the knee is still not 100%, he is able to play tennis again thanks to the “constant rehabbing”.

“I’ve had quite a bit of knee issues, so I’m constantly rehabbing. I haven’t been able to do much cardio – mostly weights, core exercises, exercises for my quad-strengthening,” he said.

“I have a physio I’ve been with for seven years, and we see each other four times a week. He does treatments, massages, stretching, and he also runs me through exercises.”

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