Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal
This was not, on a scale of 1 to 10, an easy final for Roger Federer. He battled through a brutal first set against the world No. 1 and went on to win in stunning fashion. But he was beaten by another member of the great Nadal-Alvaro Gonzalez rivalry, and it was not something Federer would have liked to see in his career.
The former world No. 1 has been to five of the past eight finals, beating Nadal in Shanghai in 2014, and Nadal in the final two times: Madrid in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017. In all those years, Federer, 34, has lost twice – in Miami in 2009 and Paris in 2013.
This is a different Federer from the one we’ve come to know over the last six years. He has lost in the last four Slam finals, the last two times against Nadal, and he is no longer the only member of the “Big Three” to make it to Wimbledon at least five times. Federer’s win in the third round in 2015, the year prior to his grand slam loss, is the biggest of his career. Now, he is looking at not only the loss but also a significant downcast.
Before Federer opened with his first service ace of the night, he was asked by one of the reporters if he would ever consider retiring. “Yes,” he said. “Maybe not at this level, right now, but definitely at some point – once my career is over – I would like to.”
Federer and Nadal in 2017 at Wimbledon. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Federer has done what he wanted to do since he turned 30 on 19 November – win five Grand Slam titles. He has also tried to keep some perspective on his career, and has spoken of wanting to remain active beyond the age of 40, and to keep playing for the love of the game.
What’s it like to play against Nadal on a good day and