I was doing the laundry when the news hit that Roger Federer was going to retire and the Laver Cup was going to be his last dance. The last dance has become such a popular saying after the Netflix series about Michael Jordan that I am casually stealing it from him.
Roger Federer announcing his retirement has had a profound impact on me. Memories of more fun times, when I would discuss tennis with my grandmother, who sadly passed away in 2013. We each had our own preferences in tennis. We were huge fans but had different tastes.
Team Kim vs Team Venus
I remember having a pseudo fight with her over Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters at the Miami finale of 2010. She was team Venus and I was team Kim. She loved Venus because she was a fighter. I loved Kim because of her determination. But we both agreed that Serena was the GOAT. She was more ferocious than Venus we found. Looking at the number of tournaments Serena won in total, we were both right.
Serena Williams has more talent in her pinkie toe than everyone else
My grandmother and I often wondered how it was possible that Serena was still so incredibly dominant on the WTA Tour. Even after she was less motivated she would still come out on top. Or even after long absences, she would just train and come back on top. It was ridiculous.
So we figured: she either has so much more talent in her pinkie toe than the entire WTA Tour OR the competition was too weak. We like to think that the pinkie toe was the reason for her dominance on the WTA Tour.
Ofcourse things weren’t always that sunny on the WTA Tour for Serena. Like I mentioned before, at times she would just not be there but elsewhere in her mind or physically. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. Many fans did. And so did Chris Evert who wrote an open letter to Serena to not let her amazing tennis talent go to waste.
The letter is hard to find but Pro Tennis Fan’s Mike McIntyre has kept a copy on his website protennisfan.com. The letter is a really good read and we see it from Chris’ perspective. But I can understand Serena as well. You have won it all at some point and your hunger is stilled. What do you want out of your career? I am sure many of you can relate to some degree. What do you do when you have reached all your goals?
You evolve away from tennis. And that’s what Serena did when she retired at the US Open in 2022. I wish her a happy retirement and I hope to see her in some capacity talking about her new ventures.
Roger Federer has more talent in his big thumb than everyone else
Remember when I was doing the laundry? I left the laundry room to read up on Federer’s announcement to retire. I watched old videos of him beating his adversaries. I remember being happy when he finally beat Nadal. Or the moment he finally won his career Grand Slam by winning the French Open. Federer didn’t like the Paris clay much and it took him a long time to finally win that tournament. And I remember watching that with my grandmother. We didn’t like Nadal or Djokovic. Our hero was Roger Federer. His tennis was magical.
Or the times that he played in Rotterdam and I always wanted to go but something else got in the way that needed my attention more. I am sad to say that I had plenty of opportunities to watch him play in real life and realize now that I never will see him compete at the highest level. I will maybe see him play on the old man’s tournaments like they have at each Grand Slam tournament or the Champions Series.
When Federer announced his final match was going to be a doubles match and preferably with Nadal, I knew I just had to watch that. Nadal and Federer on the same side of court, that’s just amazing.
The moment came on September 23rd, 2022 and I was about to go watch when I saw pictures popping up online of a crying Federer holding Nadal’s hand. This time it was really over.
I still haven’t watched his final goodbye or his last dance. I just couldn’t do it. I know I will get very emotional. Not just because it’s the tennis player I have been following all these years but also the memories I have of my grandmother.
Thanks for everything Serena and Roger.