Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2019

Bold Roger Federer retirement claim made that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will hate | Tennis | Sport

Roger Federer turns 38 years old in four weeks’ time but remains a force to be reckoned with in men’s tennis.

The Swiss icon could secure a ninth Wimbledon crown but must first overcome Rafael Nadal in tomorrow’s semi-finals at SW19.

A 20-time Grand Slam champion already, Federer has been in sublime form at the All England Club.

And the ATP Tour veteran claimed his 100th career win at Wimbledon by defeating Kei Nishikori in a four-set quarter-final tie yesterday.

That saw Federer become the first man ever to secure a century of match wins at one Grand Slam event, even despite Rafael Nadal being a 12-time winner at the French Open.

And McEnroe – a seven-time Slam winner himself – believes Federer still has plenty in the tank despite suggestions he is in the twilight of his career, a claim both Nadal and world No 1 Novak Djokovic will no doubt hope is hyperbole.

Speaking alongside Boris Becker on Today at Wimbledon, McEnroe said: “We thought we knew something about playing on this surface but this has taken it to a whole new level.

“This guy, initially, was serving and volleying.

“Now all of a sudden you don’t see him do that at all. But he knows when he needs to step it up, when to move forward.

“There’s no reason this guy can’t do it for another three or four years.”

And American great McEnroe felt that Federer simply took his game up a level when he had to in order to overcome Japan’s Nishikori in the last eight.

Told Federer was unaware of his win being his 100th at Wimbledon until a fan told him, McEnroe laughed: “You don’t believe that, right? I think he was aware that he was about to hit a number that is absolutely astronomical.

“He’s played 75 majors, he’s played 18 years’ worth of majors. Now 100 wins alone at Wimbledon. It’s one of the most staggering statistics you’ll ever hear.

“We could sit here for an hour and talk about what he’s accomplished over the years, how well he’s done here at Wimbledon.

“That [win] was [about] subtle adjustments. He started coming over that backhand a lot more, taking it to Nishikori.

“I’ve got to give Nishikori a lot of credit, he really tried to come up with a game-plan that seemed to be working. Just a better player stepped it up when he needed to. 

“He likes that sliced backhand, the short slice. It wasn’t working that well. The one thing Nishikori has got over Federer is that he’s quicker. Speed can kill and he showed that early.

“Federer looks great for his age still, he looks like he’s 27 years old but Nishikori used that to his advantage. It turned out for him unfortunately, his bread and butter shot, the two-handed backhand let him down as the match progressed.

“He had chances in the third and fourth sets to extend this match to a fifth set like he did in Australia.”

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