Roger Federer Says He Would've 'Had to Retire 10 Years Ago' If He Couldn't Bring Kids on the Road
Han Yan/Xinhua via Getty Roger Federer
Roger Federer kept his family front of mind throughout his long-running tennis career.
The tennis pro, who announced his retirement earlier this month, sat down for a wide-ranging interview on Today Wednesday, where he opened up about how being a dad of four played a role in keeping him "hungry" on the court as a professional athlete.
Federer, 41, and his wife Mirka welcomed twin daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose in July 2009, and in 2014, they welcomed another set of identical twins, sons Leo and Lenny.
"I have twin girls, as you know, Myla and Charlene. They were born in '09, just after I became, I think it was world No. 1," he told Savannah Guthrie. "The girls were born and from that moment on, 2010 and 2011, I didn't win any slam. I remember changing diapers, bathing the girls and just being a dad."
He continued, "But then when the boys were born, I mean, that rocked the boat, obviously, because going on the road with four kids every single week was hard, to say the least."
"And from being maybe the dominator, I became the challenger," he shared. "And I liked that role, as well. I actually really stayed hungry throughout."
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Federer also spoke about taking his kids on the road with him throughout his career, noting it was a no-brainer.
"Oh, it was the only way," he said. "I said, 'Never would I go on the road without my kids.' I'd rather retire [than travel without them]. Then I would've had to retire 10 years ago."
In his retirement announcement last week on Twitter, Federer said this weekend's Laver Cup would be his final competitive tournament.
The men's tennis tournament — which Federer co-created five years ago — is scheduled for Sept. 23 through Sept. 25 at The O2 Arena in London, and airs on the Tennis Channel.
To my tennis family and beyond,
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
Last Thursday, the 20-time Gram Slam winner thanked his fans, coaches, fellow tennis foes and friends in his online announcement.
"As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I've worked hard to return to full and competitive form," he explained in a video shared on social media. "But I also know my body's capacities and limits and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I've played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years."
He continued, "Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career."