Roger Federer ends his tennis career: the greatest is leaving

Roger Federer ends his career
The biggest with the smallest ego

Dominated the tennis scene for years: the Swiss Roger Federer

Dominated the tennis scene for years: the Swiss Roger Federer

© William WEST / AFP

Roger Federer ends his professional career. With the Swiss, not only is the best tennis player of all time leaving, but one of the greats of our time is saying goodbye.

"I need to see when the time has come to end my professional career," writes Roger Federer on Instagram on Thursday, triggering numerous breaking news stories around the world. The Swiss is now 41 years old and has not been one of the best in his sport for a long time. His last Grand Slam victory was almost five years ago, he won his last tournament when Corona was still a type of beer for most. Nevertheless, an era comes to an end on this day, a career in sports that probably doesn't exist or will ever exist again.

Roger Federer is considered by many, including the author of these lines, to be the GOATthe greatest of all time, of tennis viewed. Although he no longer holds the record for most Grand Slam victories, his eternal competitors Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have overtaken him by one and two wins respectively. But like my esteemed colleague Tim Sohr here in 2018 already in a very similar place wrote: Its importance cannot be measured in numbers.

Federer has this Sports dominated for years in a way that stands out from all the big names in tennis. He has always inspired with his way of playing, with the feathery steps, the elegant swing. It always looked so easy with him, it's a well-worn phrase, but if anyone deserves it, it's him. He destroyed the competition on the pitch for years, often looking like he hadn't even started a sweat. He always freed himself from hopeless situations. If the opponent had already switched off because he thought the point was safe for him. But Federer still came up with something. He got the most impossible balls and turned them into incredible winners. Youtube is full of these rallies, countless cuts of shots only he could do.

Roger Federer embodies fair play like no other

But Federer is so much more than just athletic ability. He is a great ambassador for his sport. In the international sports business, callousness, chutzpah, often reigns supreme. Anyone who seeks and exploits small advantages is considered clever and hardened. Not so in tennis. The idea of ​​fair play dominates there (for the vast majority). And nobody embodies this as much as Federer. For years he fought bitter duels with Nadal and Djokovic, shaped by the unconditional will to win. Nevertheless, he showed his greatness in countless situations, especially when everything was at stake. He overruled the referee when he made a wrong decision in his own favour, stopped when the opponent fell and had points repeated.

Even in the bitter moments, he retained his character and always showed himself to be a fair loser. After all, he had to finish eleven of his 31 Grand Slam finals as second winner. Then he paid tribute to his opponent Nadal, for example, when he had defeated him again. Unforgettable was the battle of Wimbledon in 2008, two clean sheets behind, but then fought back and ended up losing 7 to 9 in the fifth. The disappointment was written all over his face, but not only that. Even in such moments, he radiated honest, appreciative joy for his opponent's performance and success. Because he was and is always a fair sportsman.

Always humble

So also off the court. One might think that anyone who dominates a sport for so long has to take off. And who would have blamed him? Anyone who plays like that is allowed to be a bit arrogant. But not Federer. He sneaked modestly, sometimes almost shy-looking about the tour. Eurosport commentator Matthias Stach reported how Federer always treated everyone responsible, from the tournament director to the referee to the ball boy, as equals.

Also because he himself started as a ball boy in Basel, as he writes in his farewell post. He observed and admired the great players back then. Probably without being able to imagine how over the next few years he became one of them and eventually the greatest of them all. The biggest with the smallest ego.

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