Roger Federer said he would play just one doubles game at this weekend’s Laver Cup, which would be his last professional game.
The 41-year-old Swiss star announced his forthcoming retirement last week after failing to recover sufficiently from his recent knee surgery to resume his career.
Speaking at a press conference at London’s O2 Arena on Wednesday, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he hopes to be fit enough to take part in what is expected to be a doubles game on Friday night.
“I know my limits and that’s why I asked Björn [Borg, the Europe captain] If it’s okay that I only play doubles,” said Federer. “I think that would have to be Friday night.
“So here I am, trying to prepare for one last doubles. Let’s see how it is. I’m nervous because I haven’t played for so long. I hope it goes well.”
In order to play just one doubles, the Laver Cup rules have to be adjusted – a team competition between Europe and the rest of the world where players usually have to play at least one singles and one doubles – and so Federer is replaced by Matteo Berretini for Saturday and Sunday.
Federer said he would like to play the doubles Rafael Nadalhis longtime rival and friend.
“Of course, no doubt,” said Federer. “I think it could be a pretty unique situation if it happened. As long as we’ve struggled together, we’ve always had this respect for each other, our families, coaching teams, even for us to go through a career that we both have have had, come out on the other side and have a nice relationship is perhaps a great message to the sport of tennis and beyond.
“For that reason it would be great, I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but it would be great.”
Back at Wimbledon, where he received a standing ovation at an event celebrating Center Court’s 100th anniversary, Federer had hoped he might return. But a scan on his right knee, which underwent surgery last summer, was not encouraging, prompting Federer to announce he would be stepping down after the Laver Cup, an event he helped found.
Federer said he was very proud of his longevity and how he managed to play at the top of the game.
“I was known for being quite unpredictable early in my career,” he said. “Becoming one of the most consistent players of all time is quite a shock for me too. For me personally, it’s a great achievement that I’ve been able to stay at the top for so long.
“There are so many things I will miss; the fans are at the center of everything. I’ll miss that, every interaction on and off the pitch.”