Should Roger Federer retire?

Roger Federer is certainly past the peak of his career, yet he still ranks as one of the best players in the world. Recent injuries and a dearth of major titles of late has predictably led some commentators to suggest that he should consider calling it a day. Should he?


He is past his best and can’t win as often as he used to. With 17 Grand Slam titles, 6 ATP World Tour titles and 24 Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer has won more major tournaments than any other player in history. But his strike rate has gone down considerably over the past five years. Over an eight year period, from 2003-2008, Federer won 16 Grand Slam titles and was runner-up on six occasions. Since 2011 he has reached the final of five majors but was only able to win one of them, which was way back in 2012 at Wimbledon. It’s unlikely that this trend is going to get any better, so why continue to battle it out on the gruelling tour when you’ve experienced such highs in your career and there is little to look forward to? Wouldn’t he be wise to follow in the footsteps of the great Pete Sampras who, after eight consecutive years of winning slams, followed by an absence of majors for two years, retired after finally capturing another (his 14th) Grand Slam title?

He is too old and becoming plagued by injuries. At 34, Roger Federer is one of the elder statesmen of the game. When players hit their thirties they typically become increasingly susceptible to injuries due to the natural degradation of soft tissues in the body. Federer has had remarkably few injuries in his career and as a result holds the Open Era record of 65 straight appearances in Grand Slam main draws. However, he has finally begun to experience the perils of age and was forced withdraw from Roland Garros, breaking his record streak. He has had issues with his lower back, which has resulted in his withdrawal from a number of tournaments, and had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January. Although the torn meniscus was the result of a freak accident while bathing his children, and by no means completely attributable to age, injuries in your mid-thirties take far longer to recover from than in your mid-twenties, regardless of the cause! Roger is already well past the age by which most pros have retired - Sampras was 31 when he won the 2002 US Open and called it quits - so realistically how much longer can he expect to compete at the highest level?


He is still one of the world’s best players and can still compete for major titles. Federer may be a little long in the tooth and not winning as often as he is used to but let’s put things into perspective. The fact is he is the number three player in the world and still has the ability to beat the best players in the game, including world number one Novak Djokovic who has dominated the game so much over the past couple of years that he has earned the right to be considered one of the all-time greats alongside Federer. In fact Federer is one of the few players who have been able to take a match off Djokovic every now and then. Federer still ranks above another active all-time great in Nadal and was second only to the sublime Djokovic as recently as last October. So he is hardly down for the count! Despite it being nearly four years since his last slam victory, he has reach three slam finals and two semi-finals in the past two years. After a very poor 2013 by his standards, there has been no further decline in his results, in fact his results in majors have improved of late. So he’s not just going through the motions but is committed to continuing to improve his game to give himself a shot at winning more slams. So why shouldn’t he keep going?

He is the GOAT (Greatest Player of All Time) and we we want him around as long as possible. Each one of us have witnessed the development of something very special over the course of Federer’s career. From the 19-year-old, pony-tailed punk who took out four-time defending champion Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 to the greatest player to have ever picked up a racket. It will be a long time before we see another Federer, a player who will dominate the game so completely for so long. We’re lucky that despite all his past success he’s still motivated to keep producing his best. Why would we want to wish away a talent like that? And more than just being the GOAT he has been one of the greatest ambassadors the game has ever had. As one of the very best athletes in the world, Federer’s feats have attracted massive amounts of media attention which has been great for the game of tennis, especially since he always conducts himself in a highly professional manner and is a great role model for children. And if, against the odds, he can capture another slam, well then the media will lap up that story like never before! So the longer he can stick around the better.

Coach Dan’s call: I say, “Long live the King!” What’s your call?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Avoid insanity on the court | Main | Big boys prepare for battle »