Roger Federer granted an exclusive interview with GQ, in which the former Swiss tennis legend opened up about the beginnings of his career. In an interesting part of the interview, the 8-time Wimbledon champion revealed how he had a deal with his parents to give his tennis career a real chance after leaving school at 16.
Federer told: "That's a good question. At the beginning of my career, I received feedback pretty quickly that I was actually quite good at what I was doing. At the beginning, it is of course difficult to assess this and you hardly dare to really believe it.
And as soon as you slowly become a little more self-confident and think, hmm, maybe I'm really good, you'll get punched in the nose, you can be sure of that. As a teenager, you already go through a rollercoaster of emotions and when you add a career in competitive sports to the mix, you really have to take care of yourself.
When I was 14, I left home and attended a performance centre. Those were probably the two most important years of my life. I learned so much about life.
At the age of 16, I decided to stop school. I tried online classes for a few months but then realized pretty quickly that both weren't possible and that I had to put everything on one card.
I had a deal with my parents to give tennis a realistic chance and if it didn't work out, to go back to school straight away and without complaining. What can I say, something has happened."
Federer talks about his retirement in the interview with GQ
The Swiss said that the most difficult phase was in the weeks and months preceding the final decision, while grappling with the best way to communicate this choice which closes the professional life of an athlete.
Federer explained: "The hardest part about ending a career is actually the weeks and months beforehand when you're thinking about how and where to best communicate that decision. You first have to get used to this new everyday life, after all everything is different and the focus of your professional life has shifted.
But I suddenly love having so much time for other great things. What I miss are the friends that I always automatically saw through playing tennis, like my classmates at school. That was great. You now have to actively arrange appointments with them, which is of course a change. But I enjoy the time with my family even more."
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