Tennis: Federer the coach? Never say never, says Swiss great

Roger Federer warming up to play during a promotional event at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo on Nov 19, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE – Following his retirement at the Laver Cup in September, Roger Federer has kept a relatively low profile on social media and made few public appearances.

At the press conference for Uniqlo’s LifeWear Day in Tokyo on Saturday, he was inevitably asked the burning question on most people’s minds: what is Federer going to do now?

Definitely not start an academy, as the 41-year-old was quick to rule out. But could the world see Federer the coach?

“Never say never,” said the Swiss superstar, who was joined by others such as fellow tennis player Kei Nishikori at the session, which was also attended by global media virtually.

“With my four children going to school and everything going on, I don’t see myself coaching at the moment. But if a Swiss junior comes around and needs support or advice, I’m happy to do that.

“(An) academy is definitely not something I’m aiming for. I see myself more in supporting academies around the world because they’re doing a great job and they’re very important in the tennis world.

“Maybe commentating one day but I haven’t attempted to find out how or where to start so it’s still very early days for me, to be honest.”

Federer will also look for more projects to work on with his foundation or partners including Uniqlo. He was in Tokyo to help launch Uniqlo’s Next Generation Development Programme, which aims to help young people around the world be their best through sports and creativity.

During the 25-minute press conference, Federer was his usual relaxed self, cracking a few jokes while thoughtfully giving his replies – all the questions were for him.

Perhaps the 20-time Grand Slam was more at ease as he no longer bears the pressure of being a professional athlete.

He said: “For me, it’s the little things that dropped away, the weight you feel as a tennis player. (You’re) always constantly thinking about your next practice, your next match – it never lets you go – your next travel, your next packing.

“I don’t think I was that much aware of it, how much that thought is always there until you retire and you realise that stress all drops away.

“Once that all drops away, you feel lighter, more relieved that you can live normally again after 25 years.”

Still, he admitted that he misses everything about being on tour and that he would “love to do it all over again” if he could.

“It really has been an absolute dream come true for me to be a tennis player. I remember being a young boy hoping that one day I could walk the big courts, play against the best players and win a special tournament.

“I was able to achieve it all so of course, I feel sad I’m not on tour any more, but also a great sense of pride and relief that I was able to make it to the finish line in a good manner.

“I got to know so many cool people, (had) so many fun moments (and) great memories. Now, I’m looking to the next chapter in my life and it’s really something that excites me.”

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