I write this article as a question posed to you the reader.
Would you as a Federer fan rather have Federer play into his 30’s, thus assuming the risk that he will lose to younger, faster players in the first rounds of tournaments, or would you rather have Federer retire early and not allow those early first round losses pile up that eventually lead to retirement.
Let’s make this fun.
Suppose that you the reader are a tennis god.
Now suppose that you are the tennis god assigned to Roger Federer and his career path is dictated by your choices.
Finally suppose that you, as a tennis god, have been instructed to only allow Federer three choices.
Those three choices are as follows.
First, Roger Federer plays until he is 30 and never wins another Slam. He is still competitive at 30 making it consistently to the quarterfinals of most major tournaments.
At the age of 30 after making it into the U.S. Open quarterfinals he would retire from competitive tennis to be a full-time father and husband. His legacy would be that of one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
The second choice would be that Federer plays until his mid 30’s. This would have a different set of consequences. First Federer would never win another Slam. Second, after his 30th birthday Federer’s level of play would fall drastically and now his survival after the first round or two of major tournaments would not be guaranteed.
His retirement would not be a widely renowned and his legacy would still be that of one of the greatest tennis players ever but the string of first round exits to close out his career would mean a little tarnishing on the legacy and with the emergence of Rafael Nadal people still question Federer’s legacy.
The third and final choice would be the most difficult to bear. Roger Federer would go into the 2009 French Open as a huge underdog. He would then emerge victorious by beating Nadal in a five-set match that trumps last year's Wimbledon.
Not only will he complete the career Grand Slam but he will also hoist the French Open trophy as his 14th Slam thus tying Pete Sampras. It will go down as the greatest game ever played, regardless of sport. After the final, Federer will announce his retirement.
Oh my! What do you do?
As Federer fans, none of us want to see Federer ever leave the game of tennis.
My choice would be the final of the three.
For Federer to win a Roland Garros and then walk away from the game of tennis would be earth-shattering stuff. He would go down as the greatest sportsman ever, regardless of the sport.
However, that third choice would be difficult to swallow for the avid Federer fan. Most want to see him play forever and cannot envision a world without him. Allowing him his Roland Garros is fitting but at the expense of never seeing him pick up a racket again?
I assume most would also pick the final of the three choices, but I have to imagine that there are some who just flat out enjoy watching Federer smash forehands down the line and don’t care if he never raises another trophy again.
Then I have to imagine that there are some who long for Federer to raise that 14th Slam trophy, and how fitting it would be if it was the Roland Garros trophy.
Oh the stories we would write.
Before long you would have thought Federer had solved world hunger and figured out how to have world peace.
The ball is now your court.