Roger Federer was asked yet again about the “R” word on Tuesday.
The short answer, he thinks retirement is good for James Blake, but isn’t planning his own anytime soon.
“I’m in a very good spot right now and I want to enjoy it as long as it lasts, yeah,” Federer, 32, said after advancing to his 14th straight second round at the U.S. Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win over Grega Zemlja of Slovenia.
The match was postponed from Monday night because of the threat of rain, and Federer sounded slightly perturbed.
“They cancelled us fairly quickly, I thought last night,” he said.
In the past, Federer has said he plans to continue to play for the foreseeable future, including possibly competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Asked if his passion for the game was as high now as ever, the 17-time major winner and five-time U.S. Open champ said, “Yeah, I would think so.”
He then added some interesting comments about his passion for the game relative to his success on the court, and balancing the demands of family life.
Federer hasn’t won a major since Wimbledon in 2012 and is seeded No. 7 here, his lowest position since 2002, the year before he won his first major.
“Clearly when you win everything, it’s fun,” said Federer, who has won just one tournament in 2013. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you love the game more. You just like winning, being on the front page, lifting trophies, doing comfortable press conferences. It’s nice.
“But that doesn’t mean you really actually love it, love it. That maybe shines through maybe more in times when you don’t play that well. For me, I knew it, winning or losing, practice court or match court, that I love it. So I’ve been around for too long. Clearly when I had, you know, my two girls, I also wasn’t sure right off the bat how it was going to be after that. Was I going to be able to play the same schedule? Was my love for the game as big? Were we going to be able to cope with the whole thing, having twins or not?
“[I] managed it totally fine. They were at the court today. I’m so happy to see them before and after the match.”
As for Blake, Federer said he was happy to see him go out on his own terms after the American announced his retirement following the Open on Monday.
“Yeah, I mean, I guess I was happy to hear it, you know, because I really have enjoyed playing against James,” Federer said. “I think it’s always nice when you can go out on your terms.”
It will be interesting to see how long Federer wants to keep playing if he cannot win at a high level. He could face arch-rival Rafael Nadal here in the quarterfinals. Nadal is 21-10 all-time against Federer.
John McEnroe, for one, thinks Federer will never win another major.
“To me, it’s obviously going to be a lot more difficult at this stage,” McEnroe, now a television commentator with ESPN, said on a recent conference call. “I don’t see at this stage him being able to go through all seven [rounds] and have to beat at least two of these [top] three guys.
“Maybe he would use that type of thing as incentive. When you’ve won 17, you clearly think you can win another one. To me, there comes a point, even as great as Roger has been for so many years, that it catches up to you a little bit,” McEnroe said.
For now, Federer has no plans to give in to Father Time.
Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter @AdamZagoria for updates throughout the U.S. Open.