Ivan Ljubicic remained bittersweet about the Friday retirement match of Roger Federer, with the Croat who has guided the Swiss as a co-coach for a good half-decade or more suggesting his man would have loved to play on.
The 41-year-old Federer was setting up for his career finale on Friday at the Laver Cup, when he takes to the doubles court at the Europe v World event alongside historic rival Rafael Nadal.
“I am sure there will be a show, although it is not ideal to say goodbye in this way,’ former ATP No. 3 Ljubicic told Tennis Majors.
“Although it is also true that Roger would like to play until he is 100 years old.. there is now way he was going to stop on his own account.”
Ljubicic said that the 20-time Grand Slam winner has been having good training sessions, but that the cumulative effects of three knee operations eventually spelled the end of a brilliant career.
“I’ve seen him practice and he was fine, hitting the ball well. Physically I can’t tell, but the (Laver match) will only be doubles, so it won’t matter too much.
Ljubicic admitted to confusion over how Federer and his rivals – and Laver teammates – Nadal, and Novak Djokovic will be judged by history.
“I don’t know what the criteria should be, but I don’t think there is a clear answer.
“What does it mean to ‘be the greatest’? Is the most successful the biggest or does it go the other way?
“Roger, Novak and Rafa, the three of them have done things that will never be achieved in the future, they have taken this sport to an amazing height – there is no reason to look for the GOAT answer.”
The Croat added: “You can’t forget that he was voted fan favourite for 19 years in a row.
“Although it’s clear that the Grand Slams and the weeks of No. 1 count a lot, those are the most important.
“Any of the three can be the GOAT, what is clear is that their achievements are totally sick.
“I’m prepared for an emotional evening.”
Main photo:- Ivan Ljubicic coaching Roger Federer ©ATPTour