Roger Federer was delighted with the ovation he received as he walked off Centre Court at the end of his 22nd Wimbledon campaign on Wednesday, but the soon-to-be 40-year-old isn’t going to retire anytime soon.

“[The] crowds were amazing,” said Federer, after a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 quarter-final loss to Polish 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz. “The ovation was fantastic. I loved it. That’s why I play. That’s why I still play now… I’m super grateful for all the support I’ve gotten here over the years. Today again was special.

“I’m actually very happy I made it as far as I did here, and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did, after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age you’re just never sure what’s around the corner.”

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Federer underwent two arthroscopic right knee surgeries in February and May last year, but the Swiss was clearly happy to have returned to the All England Club, the scene of his eight Wimbledon triumphs, over the past fortnight.

“I was able to make it this year, which I’m really happy about,” said Federer, who was contesting just his fifth tournament of 2021. “I’ve got to take a few days. Obviously, we’re going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, ‘Okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?’

“I’m not sure if it’s necessarily matches, to be honest, because the body actually overall feels fine from the matches. I’m happy I went through all the process of taking losses and trying to play in Paris, Geneva, Doha and Halle, getting myself into match toughness and fitness here in Wimbledon. I definitely need to be a better player if I want to be more competitive at the highest of levels. I knew that coming in.”

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The Swiss superstar, who has won a record-equalling 20 Grand Slam trophies, will now regroup with Ivan Ljubicic and Severin Luthi and plan his next tournaments.

“You know you need a goal when you’re going through rehab with what I did,” said Federer. “You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb as once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super step, if you like.

“Now that that’s over, you just got to reassess everything. You got to sit down, talk about it, what went well, what didn’t go so well, where is the body, where is the knee, where is the mind? The goal is to play, of course.”

After his first straight sets loss at Wimbledon since 2002, when he fell as a 20-year-old to Mario Ancic 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the first round, Federer went on to admit, “Clearly, there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays, they don’t happen naturally anymore. I got to always put in the extra effort mentally to remind myself, ‘Remember to do this’ or ‘Do that’. I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.

“I felt very disappointed in the moment itself. I still am. At the same time there’s always a weight that falls off your shoulders when a tournament is over, when a huge goal is made or missed. It doesn’t matter actually. You feel the weight is gone and you’re exhausted. I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. That’s how I feel.

“The past 18 months have been long and hard. Then again, if I take perspective, I’m always very happy about a lot of things that happened [in the past few weeks, the past few months. I know [I] will be upbeat again shortly. I know how I am in these situations. I feel like I go maybe very hard on myself, I get very sad, and then a few days go by…. Then I’ll be totally fine again and be my old self.

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