Roger Federer has explained his decision to retire from tennis, saying he ‘stopped believing’ he could make it back from injury.
Federer had keyhole surgery after the 2020 Australian Open to correct a knee problem, but he never really returned from it. A second operation was needed and then, following a failed comeback attempt in 2021, a third.
Eventually, he said he just could no longer hold onto his belief that that was any way back for him and it was time to face reality.
"The last three years have been tough to say the least," Federer told the BBC. "I knew I was on very thin ice for the last year ever since I played Wimbledon.
"I tried to come back but there was a limit to what I could do. And I stopped believing in it, to be honest.
"Then the question becomes: how do you announce and when do you announce? This is when it becomes reality. It was OK but stressful."
That retirement announcement finally came earlier this month as he released a video on social media confirming he was at the end of his career.
"It's been an emotional few weeks to go through those words to try to get them right, that they reflect how I'm feeling and thanking all the people who have helped along the way," he admitted.
"I always pushed my retirement thoughts away. I said, the more I think about it, the more I'm already halfway retired and this is not the way to go to work, you know, for me as a tennis player, so we'll deal with it when it comes. And it did. And I dealt with it.
"I think writing those words was, for me parts, partially also like, rehab, like going myself through all those words, feeling them."