“Let’s say I have a tournament. I ask myself, how happy am I to be leaving home? Because it’d be so nice to stay. So am I happy to pack my bags, and walk out the door, and put them in the car, and get in the car, look to the house and say, Okay let’s do this––am I happy in that moment? Or do I wish I could stay longer,” Roger Federer tells GQ’s Rosecrans Baldwin of how he’ll know when it’s time to retire. Baldwin catches up with the Swiss tennis star just five days after winning the Australian Open against Rafael Nadal. “Every time it’s been: I’m happy to go. I’m still doing the right thing in my heart. It’s a test.” This month, Roger Federer covers the April “Style Bible” issue of GQ and discusses the next chapter of his career.
Roger Federer on winning the AusOpen 2017
“Winning Australia, it solves so many problems,” says. “I think a lot of people were hoping that I’d win,” he says quietly. “It seems like a lot of them were super happy.” Federer makes it very clear that he never expected this level of success. “Tennis brought me these things,” he says emphatically, referring to pretty much everything around him. “That’s why I’m so thankful to tennis. It broadened my horizon. If I hadn’t been a tennis player, I’d probably be living life in Basel, doing some sort of job. I’d have a smaller perspective.”
Federer describes himself as feeling “very humble” in the last moments of the Australian Open, before the finish was decided. “Even then I thought it could still be turned around by him [Nadal], I could still lose it,” he says. Despite Federer’s other big wins––the 2009 French open when he clinched the Career Grand Slam and tied Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Slam titles or when he beat Andy Roddick at Wimbledon a few weeks later––he admits that the Australian open “feels very different. You have a better perspective when you’re older. You’re more at peace,” he says. “Sometimes you want it more because you know time isn’t on your side.”
Roger Federer admits that the passion for tennis came late to him, not until he cracked the top ten, when he played Peter Sampras in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001. “I was 19 years old. I realized, Oh My God. There’s so much more to tennis than just practice in a cold hall somewhere in Switzerland. This is what tennis could be about,” he says reflecting on the match. “I realized, I want to be back on the court one day, I’d love to compete with these guys on a regular basis, I’d rather play on the bigger court than on the smaller courts… And all of a sudden it started to make sense. Why you’re doing weights. Why you’re running. Why you arrive early at a tournament. Why you try to sleep well at night. We just started to understand the importance of every single detail. Because it makes a difference.”
The April issue of GQ will be available on newsstands in New York and L.A on March 21 and nationwide on March 28.
Read Roger Federer’s full interview at GQ Magazine.