Forget retirement – ​​Roger Federer is just getting started

Frankly, tennis needs him to keep generating the electricity. What, for example, do you imagine the Laver Cup would be without him? It would turn into the most hollow of exhibitions, stripped of the glamor that only Federer can confer.

Even with his rackets stashed away, he is still required to turn up in a statesman’s role, especially when the event heads to less tennis-obsessed territory in Vancouver next year.

Alone among the Big Four, who count Andy Murray as an honorary inductee, Federer boasts a truly supranational appeal. When he contested the “Match for Africa” ​​against Nadal in Cape Town in 2020, the occasion drew more than 51,000 people, a record crowd for any tennis match.

The only numbers that could compare had been recorded during his tour of Latin America the previous year. The games themselves were forgettable hit-and-giggles, but they reduced audiences to raptures everywhere from Quito to Mexico City.

One reporter who traveled with his entourage recalled seeing fans openly weeping. Such is the potency of the Federer effect: even in countries that he is visiting for the first time, he receives a reception that would make a pop idol blush.

Compare this to this month’s Davis Cup matches in Glasgow, where, regardless of Murray being the main attraction, there were still swathes of empty seats.

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