Tennis ace Roger Federer has revealed how a private conversation with wife Mirka over dinner in 2016 helped him make a positive decision about extending his career and return to the tour with renewed confidence.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion had averted major injuries over the years and featured in 65 successive majors until May 2016 as he missed the French Open that year with a back injury, shortly after he underwent a knee surgery.
Federer returned to feature in Wimbledon 2016 but a recurrence of the knee injury hampered his performance and eventually led to defeat in the semi-final against Milos Raonic. The Swiss great then decided to take a 6-month break from the tour and thus missed the Rio Olympics and the US Open.
Notably, Federer had not won a single Grand Slam title between 2013 and 2016, a 4-year drought that led to questions about his ability to get back to vintage self.
However, Federer surprised quite a few by winning the Australian Open straight away on his comeback. The veteran managed to beat nemesis Rafael Nadal in a marathon final that had gone down the wire.
Ever since the world number two has been on top of his game as he went on to win two more Grand Slam titles. He had achieved his career-best start to a season in 2018 as he remained unbeaten in 17 games before he stumbled in the final hurdle of is Indian Wells title defense last month.
Federer reveals chat with Mirka over dinner
"It probably was a dinner, while we were alone around a table. I don't even remember if I asked her if I had to stop or if she thought that I could still win," Federer told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
"It probably was something in that direction. And she told me: 'If you want to do it [play further] and you feel well, I don't see why you shouldn't win another big tournament or beat anyone.' I had that feeling as well," he added.
Federer and Mirka, a former Switzerland tennis player, tied the knot in April 2009. Notably, the 39-year-old, mother of four and former top-100 player, has been traveling with her husband on the tour.
Meanwhile, Federer will be missing the whole of clay-court swing for the second consecutive season in 2018. The Swiss veteran suffered a shock second-round defeat in Miami last month, after which he announced his decision of skipping the action on the dirt.
Federer is expected to return to the tour for his title defense in the Gerry Weber Open, ATP 500 grass-court tournament, starting June 18 in Halle, weeks before Wimbledon 2018.