Simon Reed

Only Federer can decide when to quit, but it’s tough for fans

Simon Reed

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I am in no way calling for Roger Federer’s retirement, because I believe that if he is still enjoying it he should carry on. And he must be, because he is hardly carrying on for the money or the glory.

That’s fine – and if it is okay for him that’s great. But we fans are finding it tough to take. I think there is an element of Roger Federer’s fans – and I have to say I belong to that element – who believe he is taking too many punches.

Should he retire? Only he has the right to tell us that. Is he enjoying it? How long can he cope with being beaten in straight sets by the likes of Tommy Robredo?

The likes of Robredo fancy it now when they go up against him, whereas before the intimidation factor was so great that he might have won matches before he even came on court. That’s gone now: people regard him as a fantastic scalp to get, rather than someone who might make them look stupid.

Maybe he can condition himself to taking that on the chin and loving it out on the tour. I think he still genuinely does love it: he’s never been the hardest trainer in the world and hasn’t needed to be, but he loves the competition. I don’t think he is taking mortal blows when he loses any more – those times have gone.

Only he knows if it is worth it. I can only speak as one of his fans and I have taken too many blows. It is hard to watch some of his defeats and still believe.

I personally don’t think he has got another Slam in him, but a lot of us – including me – thought that in the year and a half before Pete Sampras won his last Slam at Wimbledon that his time had passed.

If Federer does have another Slam in him, it’s probably Wimbledon. I don’t think any of the others are going to come his way now.

Wimbledon isn't out of the question, and there is a fraction of a corner of my brain which says, ‘remember Sampras, remember what you felt’. Federer is a fantastic player and he has the weapons to win at Wimbledon again, maybe.

Certainly there are many fans who just want to see more and more of him and they don’t worry, because even when he loses you get a spectacle. His shot-making may not be as good as it was but it is still marvellous to watch.

Federer was talking last week about Nadal and one thing he said which was very meaningful was, ‘You guys write off players a bit too quick’ – and maybe we do.

Over the last few weeks he has been talking about next year being a big year. He has not so many points to defend and he is really looking forward to it. This has been a quiet year and he knew it was going to be difficult coming off the back of last year. He’s also changed his racket.

Maybe there will be a renaissance next year – but how big that renaissance will be remains to be seen.

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