Roger Federer says the pandemic and knee injury actually helped him transition into post-tennis life because life slowed in the three years he was struggling with a knee injury. After the 2020 Australian Open, Federer had two surgeries on his right knee in February and May.
At the time, Federer was spending lots of time at home as he was recovering from the surgeries and there wasn't really much to do since there were restrictions everywhere caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Federer returned to tennis in 2021 March - but played just five tournaments before undergoing a third knee surgery in August of that year.
Federer was hoping to make one final return to tennis last year but it didn't happen. After realizing his knee just wasn't progressing as expected, Federer announced he would retire by playing one doubles match at the Laver Cup.
Federer on retiring from tennis
"I always feel like I’ve reached a high point, and then it keeps going. Life without the game, and life without the fans, and life without the schedule that has dominated my life for 25 years has definitely been something I didn’t know how I would take.
For the longest time I tried to come back and give it one more shot and leave the game healthy, but it was not doable. But the good/bad thing about Covid, and with my knee surgery, is that everything started to slow down in the past three years, so it wasn’t like I came from playing 100 matches and then boom, it’s over.
At the end I was relieved, I think, and happy to retire. It ended in the most perfect way at the Laver Cup. I was surrounded by my biggest rivals, and my family was there and my friends. For me it felt like, 'OK, I’m good now.
I don’t need to chase that itch anymore,'" Federer told The New York Times.
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