Welcome to your new life, Mr. Federer. Somehow, I don’t see you slowing down, just pivoting as you officially retire from professional tennis. There will be no period of mourning or self-doubt. And you will be just as masterful in your new endeavors as you have been in tennis, because you have never been a unidimensional man.
You are a marketer’s dream. A record-breaking athlete. An unwavering, devoted husband and father. A man with a stylish panache and a predictably calm demeanour. You’re the real package.
Yes, you’ve occasionally strayed from absolute perfection and had the once-in-a-blue moon melt down during a particularly tense tennis match, but your steadfast, reposed demeanor has paled in comparison to most of your contemporaries:
“Have you ever played tennis?” (Roger Federer arguing with an umpire)
“You are an incompetent fool, an offence against the world.” (John McEnroe arguing with an umpire)
“Great job. You made yourself famous. Well done, man.” (Novak Djokovic gets in the last word when arguing with an umpire)
You will continue to lend your outstanding accomplishments to large corporate sponsors and the broadcast community will warmly welcome you into its ranks. We don’t ever expect to see you hauled up before the courts for tax evasion or hiding assets, that’s just not the type of man you are.
“Three words that describe me: authentic, modest and loyal.” (Roger Federer)
“A quotation which suits me: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” (Roger Federer)
We will miss the magnificence and grace of your athleticism and sportsmanship. These qualities are part of your DNA and will always be there. Moving forward, we will simply see them from another angle. Sarah Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning dance critic, not a sportswriter; she has aptly captured your unique athletic qualities as one might describe an art form:
“That light, fluid footwork, the great coil in his midsection at the start of his stroke, the way he transfers his weight as if there’s no weight, only air and rhythm, his staccato steps and lingering leaps, and the lag in speed between his racket and his wrist. In Federer’s mix of dependable organization and electrifying spontaneity, performed with transporting ease, he produces an effect on the viewer that transcends tennis, athletics and even the body.” (Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post)
You have said: “We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do”. I can’t wait for those moments to unfold.
Tennis will be less without you. (And Serena). Sigh. But it will continue, as it always does.
“I’m a big believer, always, that tennis is bigger than anybody. And it will always create new superstars.” (Roger Federer)
In the meantime, I suspect that your TEAM8 initiatives will keep you on our toes, including the management of teenage sensation Coco Gauff.
“Leveraging the track record and network of its management team and partners, TEAM8 intends to be at the forefront in managing top athletes, and acquiring, investing in and strategically partnering with organizations and brands in the sports, media, technology and event spaces.” (TEAM8, LinkedIn)
And perhaps even more importantly, let us not forget the important work of the Roger Federer Foundation.
Indeed, there is still lots to do, Roch-ee. Let’s go!
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