Tennis great Roger Federer says he will only compete in doubles at this weekend’s Laver Cup, the international team tournament he had previously announced would be the last event of his professional career.
The 41-year-old, a co-creator of that competition that is named after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver and pits Team Europe against Team World, played both singles and doubles in the first three editions held in 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Prague, Chicago and Geneva.
The 20-times grand slam champion arrived on Monday in London for the event and practised on Tuesday at the tournament venue, the O2 Arena.
“I’m quite surprised how well I’m playing in practice here. But it was already clear beforehand that I would only play doubles, probably on Friday evening,” Federer told members of the Swiss media about his role in the three-day competition, which runs from Friday to Sunday.
“That’s why playing at the Swiss Indoors in Basel (an event scheduled for late October in his hometown) was no longer an option,” added the Swiss great, who has been unable to recover from a knee injury that has plagued him over the past few years.
He added that he had asked Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg if skipping the singles was alright and was told he could do whatever he wants.
Since Federer and arch-rival Rafael Nadal are on the same team, one possibility is that they will partner in the doubles just as they did in the 2017 Laver Cup.
Federer hinted at a repeat, saying it would be an “absolute dream” to team up with the Spaniard once again.
Federer, who announced his retirement last week, also spoke about his 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 loss in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Wimbledon to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, saying he realised then that his knee was not responding as he had hoped.
“It was tough. The whole comeback was extremely difficult. I was so far from 100 per cent,” he said of the last grand slam appearance of his illustrious career.
“Reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon was unbelievable for me. The last set against Hurkacz was one of the worst hours of my career.”