Too early for retirement talk, says Federer

Roger Federer is one of the all-time tennis greats, having won more men's grand slams than anyone else in the Open era.

Roger Federer

The Swiss has accrued 17 grand slam titles in a decade and is one of three players to have won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

However, now aged 31, the question is: how long as he got left in him?

Pete Sampras, whose record of 14 grand slams Federer superseded in 2009, decided to put down his racket aged 32.

The American retired on top, on the back of a US Open win against Andre Agassi.

Sampras went out on his own terms, but will Federer follow suit? It appears not yet, anyway.

"I want to relive those moments over and over again," he said.

"As long as I enjoy playing, why would I stop doing something I enjoy doing?

"(If I retired) it would be way too early and I'd love to do this for a really, really long time.

"Unfortunately it all comes to an end at one point, but I still think I can compete at the highest of levels so we'll see how things go."

Federer made those comments before this year's French Open, a tournament he exited at the quarter-final juncture to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

It was only the second time since 2004 the Swiss had lost prior to the semi-final stage in Paris - something which saw his attentions swiftly turn to regaining his title at the All England Club.

"I know some people say I only care about how I play and not about the result," Federer said.

"I mean, I care more about the result than how I played, to be honest, because it gives me another opportunity to play well in the next match.

"I didn't do that, so I'm sent packing home. Which is okay. It's easier when you change surface. That definitely helps.

"This is obviously a crushing loss and I'm disappointed about it, but now I look forward to other things. I love the grass-court season.

"Especially as it's been 10 years since my first Wimbledon victory. So I'm looking forward to coming back to Halle and Wimbledon, where I did the double 10 years ago. I'm sure it's going to be a nice swing."

Halle, one of the grass-court build-up tournaments, will be Federer's warm-up for Wimbledon, which he won for the seventh time with victory over home favourite Andy Murray last year.

He heads to the tournament after a start to the year in which a back injury has hampered his play, with an unusually barren run highlighting that.

"I didn't really expect to necessarily win a lot of titles, and I thought I played well in Rome and Paris, until the match with Tsonga," he said.

"I now feel that the best time for me is still to come in the second half of the year.

"It's a very important phase of the year, leading to Wimbledon and the North American swing with the U.S. Open."

Despite his previous successes in SW19, Federer is just fourth favourite with the bookmakers to take this year's crown.

World number one Novak Djokovic is seen as the man to beat, followed by Rafael Nadal, fresh from French Open success, and US Open champion Murray.

It would be foolish to write Federer off, though, with the grass courts of the All England Club suiting his aggressive game.

His experience, mental strength and exquisite ability to pull out a shot means the world number three could well enjoy more Wimbledon success this summer.



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