When Roger Federer won the Cincinnati Masters with back-to-back wins against No. 1 Novak Djokovic and then-No. 2 Andy Murray last week, many thought that the aging Swiss maestro will decide to hang up his boots and opt to walk out in a blaze of career-capping glory.
But for the 34-year-old tennis star his love for the game is more important anything else, even glory.
“I was always going to squeeze the lemon, so to say, to the last drop,” Federer said in a recent interview. “And then when I’m retired, I’m actually going to be exhausted and happy that I did it the way I did it,” he added.
After winning in Cincinnati, Federer is now looking forward to the US Open getting underway in New York from Monday.
“Now I’ve got the confidence, I’ve got the matches, and I’m actually still feeling really fresh even after this week, because the matches have been rather short,” the five-time US Open champion announced after his 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 triumph against Djokovic in the Cincinnati finale last Sunday.
“I feel like I’m playing better than at 24,” Federer said as he continues to defy age.
Despite his good showing the 17-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t won a major in three years; his most recent was at the 2012 Wimbledon. His hasn’t prevailed in New York since 2008, when he won the last of his five straight titles.
However, Federer remain upbeat about his chances in New York.
“I’m on a different wave,” he said. “But it’s another good one, and now I’m playing center court literally every single match, crowds when I practice, crowds when I play matches, unbelievable support everywhere I go. And should I just give up on that? No. Actually, you realize it’s actually so simple to keep going.”
Many talk about Federer and his legacy, meaning that he should quit before it’s too late but the star doesn’t think so.
“That to me is so silly,” he said. “I want to just play full out and see what’s left. That’s why also in ’13 when I was not well (with back problems), I could have just decided I’m not going to put myself out there. I mean, come on. Like who cares if you lose another 10 matches? I don’t think it matters. Some people might read into that. And that’s okay,” he said.
In New York, Federer won’t be among the favourites in the presence of contenders like Djokovic and Murray but he would still be a big crowd-puller, just like Tiger Woods. The golf legend has not been in the best of form in recent years but Tiger continues to be a huge sensation and even overshadows the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.