Roger Federer has explained that he stopped training with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic because he didn’t want them to know his secrets. Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles during his playing days but retired from tennis following the Laver Cup in September.
Federer appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah this week to discuss his career in the game. And after the host exclaimed that he wouldn’t want to train alongside his rivals in case they picked up his secrets, the Swiss ace replied: “That’s why I stopped training so much with Novak and Rafa.”
Federer became a professional in 1998 and won his first Grand Slam title five years later when he got the better of Mark Philippoussis in the Wimbledon final. He went on to land a mouthwatering 16 major trophies between 2003 and 2010. And he got his hands on another four titles later in his career.
The 41-year-old made it to 31 Grand Slam finals and faced either Nadal or Djokovic in 14 of those matches. But he only won four of those encounters, overcoming the Spaniard on three occasions and seeing off the Serbian just once.
Federer finished his playing career with eight Wimbledon trophies, six Australian Open successes and five US Open victories as well as one French Open title. And he is the third most successful men’s singles player in history behind Nadal and Djokovic, who have won 22 and 21 Grand Slams respectively.
Federer last won a Grand Slam trophy at the start of 2018 when he won in Australia. And he announced his decision to call time on his career in mid-September.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” he wrote in a retirement letter. “I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. 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 have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it’s time to end my competitive career.
“The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the Tour.
“This is a bittersweet decision because I will miss everything the Tour has given me. But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”