Michael Stich has suggested tennis legend Roger Federer should have retired from the sport sooner than he did given “the knowledge we have today.”
The 1991 Wimbledon champion reflected that the Swiss great should have perhaps “let it go a little earlier”, but recognised that “there is no perfect time to end your career.”
Stich retired at the age of 28 after reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 1997, with a five-set loss to Cedric Pioline at the All England Club the final match of his career.
Federer called time on his glittering 24-year career at the age of 41 after the 2022 Laver Cup, partnering friend and rival Rafael Nadal in doubles for his final competitive match.
The Swiss reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2021 in the final singles tournament of his career, losing to Hubert Hurkacz in his last match.
The 42-year-old won his 20th and final Grand Slam crown at the 2018 Australian Open and his 103rd and last ATP title at the 2019 Swiss Indoors in Basel – his home tournament.
READ MORE: Every ATP year-end No 1 since 2007 – if Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray did not exist
Federer was able to play just five singles tournaments after suffering a knee injury at the start of the 2020 season, with the former world No 1 undergoing three surgeries across 2020 and 2021.
In a recent interview, Stich expressed that he was happy with his decision to walk away from tennis at a relatively young age, while highlighting Federer as a player who may have gone on too long.
“No, I’m glad I quit at 28. It must also be said that the decision was completely spontaneous after losing the semi-final against Cedric Pioline at Wimbledon in 1997,” said the 55-year-old German.
“No. It was my decision and I had to live with it. That’s why the reaction from those around me wasn’t that important to me at first. Apart from that, I still think that there is no perfect time to end your career anyway.
“Look at Roger Federer – with the knowledge we have today, from the outside, maybe he should have let it go a little earlier. But in the end it was his decision and if he feels comfortable with the final years of his career, that’s still okay.”
Stich won 18 ATP titles and reached a career-high ranking of world No 2, while he was also a runner-up at the 1994 US Open and the 1996 French Open. He defeated countryman Boris Becker in straight sets to win his only Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
READ MORE: Novak Djokovic already backed in 2024 Grand Slam prediction by three star names