Roger Federer has spoken about the “crushing feeling” he had during the Wimbledon Centre Court centenary celebrations in 2022, when he was just two months out from announcing his retirement.
Federer was among a number of tennis legends who gathered on Centre Court during Wimbledon last summer to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion did not compete at the tournament as he was recovering from injury.
Two months later he announced his retirement from tennis, and when he visited Wimbledon this year for a celebration of his achievements, he has revealed it was a different feeling to 2022.
“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.”
Federer retired from tennis at the age of 41 after a series of knee operations.
His last singles match was at Wimbledon in 2021 when he was beaten in the quarter-finals by Hubert Hurkacz.
He says he doesn’t “play much tennis anymore, other than with the kids”.
“As a former player, to book a court and get someone to hit with you is a process, so you end up not doing it,” he added.
“On vacation, I just played with our friends in the Hamptons. I’m not super competitive. It’s just nice to be out there and then sit on the terrace and let the sweat go a bit.
“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.
“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.”
Federer is a father to two sets of twins – Myla and Charlene, 14, and Lenny and Leo, nine.
Asked how his kids feel about tennis, he said: “All four kids love it.
“The girls didn’t love it in the beginning but as they get better, they’re enjoying it and playing points now. They were up at [John] McEnroe Academy in East Hampton, and the boys were in Mallorca at the [Rafael Nadal] camp for a couple of days.
“When I have time – and I try to make the time – I go on the court with them and try to teach them a little bit. It’s obviously an interesting dynamic, because I’m the dad, and not a former player. It is what it is.”
Federer co-founded the event and will be present across all three days of the event and will flip the coin for the last match on Friday evening.