Federer's legacy at risk
Roger Federer is one of tennis legends, but recently things started to look grim for the seven-time Wimbledon champion, perhaps his age started to catch up with him after all. Following his shock defeat in the US Open last week, is it time to call it a day for the Swiss legend?
It is a difficult decision for anyone to make; when do you call it day? Is it best to go out while you are still the best at your game or do you keep playing even at a lower level?
Personally, I am a massive Roger Federer fan. When he plays tennis it is as if he is conducting an orchestra. Roger makes his opponents do the movement on the field, and with a touch of class he finishes them off. Although, I fear that if he goes on then his performances will further deteriorate.
For years he managed to fend off many greats which include Andre Agassi. Federer won Wimbledon so many times that he made the tournament his own. The man is a living legend.
Federer used to get criticised, because he could not win the French Open since it was a clay court.
Pete Sampras faced similar criticism, because he was unable to win the French Open even though he was clearly one of the all-time greats. Yet, in 2010 Federer won it and put the criticism to rest. It just showed Federer's character and his pursuit for perfection.
Federer looked as though he was going through a dip when he lost to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final. He buried any doubt over his ability when he bounced back and won his seventh Wimbledon Grand Slam in 2012. Winning Wimbledon again (he had not win the title since 2009) was the perfect time and venue for Federer to retire, yet he kept going.
In snooker, Stephen Hendry won titles for fun, yet he did not quit when arguably he was at the best of his game. Hendry kept on playing and saw his world ranking dip, and finally retired after he lost 2-13 against Stephen Maguire.
Right now Federer's ranking is dropping, and he currently sits seventh in the world ranking. He is risking becoming tennis's Hendry, and face a drop in his performance in the latter part of his career.
Some athletes would rather drop down the leagues and play more regularly than quit the sport all together. With all fairness athletes that choose this approach do so for their love of the game, but they do risk the fans' memory of the athletes.
Fans want to remember their sporting idols at the top of their games, and want to keep the image of invincibility in mind. By dropping down the leagues and falling behind against competitors, athletes risk changing that image of perfection.
It is a dilemma, whether or not a giant such as Federer should retire, but at hindsight his best opportunity was following that Wimbledon win in 2012. What better way to quit than to quit while you are on top?