Roger Federer has revealed how the last few years have taken a heavy toll on wife Mirka, saying she didn't enjoy watching him play any more due to his injuries.
The 20-time grand slam champion will bid farewell to tennis at the Laver Cup this weekend, drawing the curtain on his illustrious 24-year career.
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The 41-year-old hasn't played since a loss in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021, undergoing a third surgery on his right knee in the aftermath.
After 14 months on the sidelines, Federer will make his long-awaited return at the Laver Cup in London on Friday where he will play one final doubles match to finish his career.
Speaking to Swiss media on Tuesday, Federer said his knee isn't up to playing singles anymore - part of the reason why he was forced to announce his retirement prematurely despite being scheduled to play at the Swiss Indoors in Basel next month.
He also opened up about how the last few years have affected his wife and children, revealing that Mirka found it hard to watch him play when he attempted a comeback in 2021.
"The last few years were hard for me, but I think they were even harder for her," Federer admitted.
"She really didn't enjoy watching me anymore, with all the injuries. I felt kind of sorry for her."
Federer's loss at Wimbledon last July came just a few months after he returned to the court following his second surgery.
He lost the third set 6-0 against Hubert Hurkacz - the only time in his storied career that he has been 'bagelled' at a grand slam.
"It was tough, the whole comeback was extremely difficult," Federer said on Tuesday.
"I was so far from 100 percent. Reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon was unbelievable for me.
"The last set against Hurkacz was one of the worst hours of my career."
No singles for Federer in his last pro event.
Thought he would play on Sunday, in the last day of the event, but looks like just one doubles match on Friday is the plan… https://t.co/h1x4jSh9sC
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 20, 2022
Roger Federer's children in tears after retirement call
The Swiss Maestro also made the heartbreaking admission that his children were in tears when he told them he was hanging up the racquet.
"They were very emotional. Three out of four cried," he said.
"They asked: 'Are we not going to Halle, to Wimbledon, to Indian Wells anymore?'
"I said: 'Not really. But if you want, we can go again'."
Speaking at a centre court ceremony of former champions at Wimbledon in July, Federer made the staggering announcement that he wanted to play at the All England Club one final time next year.
But on Tuesday he revealed that it soon became apparent that the knee wasn't going to hold up to the rigours of professional tennis anymore.
"A few days after Wimbledon, in July," Federer said when asked when he made the decision to retire.
"The knee just wasn't progressing anymore. I asked myself 'what's the point?'
"We had been on thin ice for a long time. I know it's the right decision, the only good decision."
Federer is now preparing for one final match before he calls it a day, saying it would be a dream to team up with Rafa Nadal in doubles at the Laver Cup.
"I am quite surprised how well I am playing in practice here," he said.
"But it was already clear beforehand that I would only play doubles, probably on Friday evening. That's why playing the Swiss Indoors in Basel was no longer an option."
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