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Roger Federer nearly retired after 2017 Australian Open victory

International Business Times (AU) logoInternational Business Times (AU) 24-02-2017 Sai Mohan

Roger Federer retirement, Roger Federer, 2017 Australian Open © Provided by IBT Australia Roger Federer retirement, Roger Federer, 2017 Australian Open

Roger Federer, the 18-time Grand Slam champion, considered walking away from the sport after capturing the 2017 Australian Open title last month. The Swiss master admittedly contemplated retirement after realising that he'd be hard pressed to end his career on a higher note.

The 35-year-old won his first major title since the 2012 Wimbledon after braving through five sets against his arch rival, Rafael Nadal, who held an unprecedented 9-2 head-to-head edge in previous Grand Slam ties against Federer. Tennis pundits acknowledge that the odds are stacked against another Federer-Nadal Grand Slam final. And when Federer stunned Nadal in the fifth set at Rod Laver Arena last month, he reached the highest of highs and briefly considered walking away in a blaze of glory. 

“I guess in a faraway place it (retirement) did cross my mind: How could I ever top this? But then again, the joy was so big, and I kept on watching the reaction of my team when I won the match point in Australia and how they were jumping for joy. Unbelievable. So much fun. I feel like I want to go through it again," Federer told The New York Times in an interview this week. 

For Roger Federer, Grand Slam No. 18 is extra special

Those close to the aging star revealed that major No. 18 holds a special place in Federer's heart since he overcame the biggest challenge of his illustrious career -- the never-ending rallies and superhuman-like endurance of Nadal. It's important to note that both Nadal and Federer were returning from injury layoffs, and were aided by the early exits of top seeds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. 

“This one (2017 Australian Open title) definitely has had maybe the longest effect of any of the Grand Slam wins in my career. I’m so happy because I didn’t have to play in the following weeks. It’s really allowed me to reflect and enjoy. In the past in 2003, when I won Wimbledon for the first time, I was in Gstaad (region of the Swiss Alps) the next day practicing and stuff. It’s very different this time. I’m still riding the wave, still feeling like I’m on cloud nine," added Federer, who, upon winning the title, refused to guarantee a return to Melbourne Park in 2018.

Federer admitted that the sixth-month break between the 2016 Wimbledon and 2017 Australian Open helped him prolong his career. “The goal, when I took my break of six months, was doing this for the next couple years, not just for one tournament. I understand people who say, ‘Oh, this would be a perfect moment to go.’ But I feel like I’ve put in so much work, and I love it so much, and I still have so much in the tank.” After his recent triumph in Melbourne, Roger Federer became the only player in history to win three Grand Slam events on five separate occasions. The Swiss legend has won 7 Wimbledon titles, 5 U.S. Open and Australian Open titles, besides the lone French Open championship in 2009. Is the tennis world equipped to handle a possible Roger Federer retirement in 2017? 

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