‘It Was The Only Way’: Tennis Legend Reveals The Decision He Made After Having Kids
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Roger Federer of Team Europe talks to the media during a press conference ahead of the Laver Cup at The O2 Arena on September 21, 2022 in London, England.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup

Tennis legend Roger Federer, 41, revealed ahead of his last match that he would have retired years ago if he couldn’t take his kids on the road with him.

Federer, who has won 20 grand slam titles, homeschools and travels with his young kids — two boys and two girls — whenever he plays. When asked by the TODAY Show why he did that, he revealed that it was what he had to do to continue in the sport.

“Oh, it was the only way,” said Federer. “I said, ‘Never would I go on the road without my kids.’ And then I’d rather retire. Then I would’ve had to retire 10 years ago.”

Federer became a father in his late 20s, when his twin girls, Myla and Charlene were born. Several years later, his wife Mirka gave birth to twin boys Lenny and Leo. He recalls that becoming a father changed his Tennis game for him.

“I remember changing diapers, bathing the girls and just being a dad. But then when the boys were born, I mean, that rocked the boat, obviously, because going on the road with four kids every single week was hard,” he said, reports Who Australia. “And from being maybe the dominator I became the challenger. And I liked that role, as well. I actually really stayed hungry throughout.”

Federer also called having kids the “most incredible thing in the world” and a tremendous responsibility.

The Swiss tennis star announced his retirement last week, noting his recent history of injuries and age.

“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form,” Federer said. “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.”

Federer’s titles rank third among men, behind only Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21). He is also the oldest men’s tennis professional to be ranked No. 1 in the ATP rankings at 36 years old in 2018, according to ESPN.

In 2009, Federer won the Roland-Garros to achieve a coveted Grand Slam. He also won eight championships at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open, and one at the French Open.

Dillon Burroughs contributed to this report. 

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