Roger Federer squashed retirement rumors before the French Open because if he thinks about retiring, he's already 'halfway there'

roger federerTPN/Getty Images

  • Roger Federer is playing the French Open for the first time since 2015, but he denied it is a swan song.
  • Federer told The New York Times that he hasn't planned for retirement because the more he thinks about it, the more he already feels retired.
  • Federer has credited his longevity to training and a love of tennis and has said he finds it exciting to not know when or how his career will end.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Roger Federer is set to play in the French Open for the first time since 2015, but he denied rumors that this is a farewell to Roland-Garros.

Speaking to The New York Times' Christopher Clarey, Federer said he has no plans on retirement because he feels that if he plans it, then he's already "halfway there."

"I heard rumors that people said I definitely wanted to play the Tokyo Olympics next year, and that's when I'm going to retire, but I never said anything like that," Federer told Clarey.

"I really don't know. I always said, 'The more I think about retirement, the more I am already retired.' People ask me, what are you going to do next? And I say, 'Well, in a way I'm not quite sure, because I feel if I plan everything for my post-career, I feel like I'm halfway there.' I think it would not affect my performance per se, but maybe my overall desire to want to do well."

According to Clarey, there is some skepticism in the tennis community that Federer, a known planner and "orderly," as Clarey put it, does not yet have an end in sight.

roger federer 2Gregorio Borgia/AP

Perhaps Federer doesn't have a plan. Federer spoke to Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal in 2018 and said his career doesn't have to have a fairy tale ending and that he has no idea how it will go.

"I've long given up that it needs to end in a fairy tale," he told Gay. "I don't need to be ranked [No. 1] or need it to be after a big title. If it happens that way, that's amazing. But you can't control it all. You have to put yourself out there, be vulnerable. I play because I love tennis, not because it needs to end with a [perfect] situation ... The only thing I wonder is: How will it be, the moment of retirement? How emotional will it be? Where is it going to be? What will lead to it? Is there a process - or do you wake up and decide at once?"

Federer called the unknown "exciting."

At 37, Federer credits his longevity to a few things - a detailed plan of tournaments to play and skip, training, and a love of tennis.

Federer's former coach, Paul Annacone, echoed a similar point to Gay last year.

"It's one of the most amazing things about his makeup," Annacone told Gay. "He still finds happiness in hitting a tennis ball, the gym, doing the work. It's hard to imagine that, at 36, it can still be fun, but it is for him."

Federer told Clarey before the French Open: "I think that's why I am still here today. I never fell out of love with the sport."

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