Roger Federer said on Wednesday he decided to retire because he “stopped believing” he could continue playing after a series of injuries.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion announced last Thursday that he will retire from competitive tennis after making his final appearance at the Laver Cup in London this week.
Federer last played on tour more than a year ago at Wimbledon in 2021, after requiring a third knee surgery.
“The last three years have been difficult to say the least,” the 41-year-old Swiss giant told BBC television.
“I knew I was on very thin ice since I played Wimbledon for the last year,” added Federer, who last won a Grand Slam at the 2018 Australian Open.
“I tried to come back but there was a limit to what I could do. And to tell you the truth, I have stopped believing in it.”
Federer had hoped to play full-time in 2022 but said a scan a few months ago “wasn’t what I was hoping for”.
“Very quickly we realized this was it. The question then becomes: How will you advertise and when will you advertise?
“It’s been an emotional few weeks trying to get those words right, that they reflect how I feel and thank all the people who have helped along the way,” he said.
The Laver Cup team event in London from Friday will give Federer his final chance to play competitively as part of the “Big Four” who have dominated tennis for the past two decades.
Rafael Nadal, who holds the record for Grand Slam titles with 22, Novak Djokovic, who has won 21, and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will all play together as part of Team Europe.
Federer said that for a long time he did not want to even think about being the first of the quartet to be eliminated.
“I always pushed my retirement thoughts away,” Federer admitted.
“I’ve always said, the more I think about it, the more I’m already halfway retired and this is no way to go to work, you know, for me as a tennis player, so we’ll deal with it when it happens. will do is coming.
“And it did. And I dealt with it.”