It will be a devastating day when Roger Federer decides to call time on arguably the greatest tennis career the world has seen.
The 35-year-old Swiss’ age implies his peak years are a long way behind him – but his 2017 Australian Open crown confirms otherwise.
Federer has the potential to extend his time on the court for several more years through careful management of his playing schedule and fitness.
With this in mind, he not only pulled out of the French Open but the entire clay court season in an effort to best prepare himself for the remainder of the year.
The decision drew speculation over whether or not it was the right one, and with the benefit of hindsight, Federer has revealed his thoughts on the matter.
"Considering how well I felt going into Paris, it was surprisingly easy to take the decision and after making it I never had any regrets watching it or following the results," Federer said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.
"For a long time, the schedule was to play Paris but all of a sudden I just felt that I wouldn't be comfortable doing it. I didn't want to compromise the goal of the grass-court season, Wimbledon, the US Open and beyond.
"I felt that the French Open may potentially have a negative effect on what's to come. It may have been helpful, but I felt there was more risk that it would go the other way. Based on health, that's why I decided to skip.
"But it's not a trend that I might follow in the future. I don't know what the future holds. This was just a one-off decision. Naturally Wimbledon is the big goal of this season right now."
BEST OF ALL-TIME
By skipping Roland Garros, Federer also gave up an opportunity to extend his lead as the most successful Grand Slam singles player in men’s tennis history.
Instead, Rafael Nadal secured his tenth title in Paris and moved into second place, three behind the 18-time major winner.
The renewed Federer-Nadal rivalry has prompted further talk of the Swiss being the greatest player of all-time – a question to which he has offered a typically classy response.
"If I win every tournament from here going forward for the next 10 years, I might be considered the best ever, yes.
"But otherwise there will still be the debate because I didn't do things when I was 15 years old or I didn't do things in the middle. I can only do as well as I can.
"At the end, I am very happy with my career. I totally overachieved on everything, so to be quite honest it's not that important to be considered the best ever. I can only do the best I can."
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