Roger Federer opened up about life After retirement, he makes a startling confession about how the grueling nature of tennis tours leads to the resignation of young players like Ash Partey.
Federer played his last professional match At the Laver Cup in September, he gave an emotional farewell to the sport after a stellar career that saw him win 20 Grand Slam titles.
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Australian star Barty also announced her retirement Earlier this year, he walked away from professional tennis at the age of 25 after winning Wimbledon in 2021 and the Australian Open in January.
Speaking at an event in Tokyo on Saturday, the 41-year-old Federer said he believes an intense tennis tour schedule will have a negative impact on players’ mental health and force them to retire at an early age.
“When players retire at a very young age, I completely understand that,” the Swiss legend said at a press conference in Tokyo.
“We see him from time to time. I always feel like it’s a pity, because there’s still so much going on ahead. The Tour is tough… the travel, the training, the jet lag.
“Nobody’s allowed to say, ‘Oh, I’m tired today,’ because you seem weak, and that’s why players sometimes end up with mental problems. Strength is meant to show. But we’re also not machines, we’re also people.”
A number of tennis pros have spoken out about their mental health struggles lately, including Naomi Osaka and Nick Kyrgios. Barty shocked the tennis world when she retired from the sport less than two months after winning the 2022 Australian Open, having taken a break from tennis earlier in her career.
Federer added that the strict doping requirements also put pressure on the players, who have to report their whereabouts to the relevant authorities on a daily basis.
“We have to fill out doping forms every day, one hour during the day, wherever you are,” said the 41-year-old Swiss.
“You always realize in the back of your head that it could come at any moment, especially at that hour. I don’t think I was very aware of it, how always that thought is there, and it goes along with you, until you retire and then you realize the tension fades away.”
Federer played on the tour for 25 years before calling it a day, and he’s making the most of being able to finally relax, saying, “As a tennis player, you’re always thinking about your next training, your next match. Lets go.”
Ash Barty has no plans to return to tennis
Barty was emphatic when asked About the possibility of returning to professional sports – even if you left the door slightly open in a recent interview.
“No, I’m done. You can never say never but no. No, no, no. I’m done,” Barty told AAP while promoting her new memoir, “My Dream Time.”
“I miss competing and challenging myself against the best players in the world, but I don’t miss a lot of the things that come with it. I still compete with myself when I train at home. I still try to push myself but there’s no white-line fever anymore.
“And I never really felt that there was that void that needed to be filled because there was a real sense of satisfaction at the end of my career. I don’t think I was still looking for the competitive beast anymore.”
The Queenslander has made it clear that her retirement is very different from the break she took in 2014, when she walked away from tennis after feeling homesick, disappointed and dissatisfied.
“During that period of my life (while) playing cricket, I was looking. I was looking for stimulation, I was looking for other things,” she said.
“But now I don’t need to. Now I probably understand and realize that I’ve had a very complete, interesting and amazing journey in my sports and professional career, and now it’s time to close that chapter.
“It is now the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life and seeing what is possible rather than searching for what is missing.”
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