Coach Ivan Ljubicic has pulled back the curtain on Roger Federer’s retirement, leaving hope that the Swiss icon may still make future appearances on court albeit in exhibition matches.
The Croat who has worked with the 41-year-old for half a decade or more told Balkan media of the frustrations of struggling to get fit after multiple knee procedures which finally ended in failure over the summer.
Federer announced Thursday on social media that he will make his last appearance at the Laver Cup in London from next Friday.
Ljubicic, a former world No. 3, said he will be there to support his player at the Europe v World event at the O2 where Federer is due to compete – is possible – on a side to include rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“It’s not to be missed,” Ljubicic said of the final professional outing for the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Ljubicic said the end drew near around Wimbledon when Federer developed water on his knee, a signal that a comeback might not be possible.
I tried to help him (from the start of their collaboration) win another Grand Slam title and he won three. I’m satisfied with that part of my coaching career.
“It’s a pity that due to health problems, he couldn’t give his best in recent years.”
The coach revealed that Federer, whose last match came in a 2021 Wimbledon quarter-final which he lost to Hubert Hurkacz, was carrying an injury in the 2019 final at the All England Club against Novak Djokovic, resulting in two missed match point chances.
“He trained (recently) with restraint, somewhere with 60-70 percent capacity,” the Croat said. “His body has done a lot of mileage and it’s understandable that he needs rest.”
Ljubicic said that his longtime collaboration with Federer could well carry in a different capacity.
“There are no problems between us and there never will be. We were friends and we remain friends.
“We will probably continue to collaborate on some things.”
Ljubicic added: “Roger will surely play some more exhibition matches because he loves tennis so much that he can’t live without it.”
Main photo:- Ivan Ljubicic oversees a Roger Federer training session