COMMENT: Roger, please don't go. Play for another year. Or two, or three if you want to. Tennis, and sport in general, need geniuses like you more than ever.
After Roger Federer's 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-3 loss to Novak Djokovic on Thursday night in the Australian Open semifinals, the talk will start again.
It's time to hang up the racket.
The Swiss should retire, while he is still near the top.
He won't win another grand slam, so better to walk away soon, rather than damage his legacy.
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To be fair, the 38-year-old added some spice to this talk after the semifinal defeat, unable to guarantee he would be back in Melbourne in 2020.
"We'll see how the year goes, how everything is with the family," said Federer. "We'll go from there. Of course, I hope to be back."
However, those words were spoken barely an hour after what he admitted was an awful experience, as his physical condition meant he was severely limited in the final two sets against the Serbian.
"Today was horrible, to go through what I did," said Federer. "Nice entrance, nice sendoff, and in between is one to forget because you know you have a three per cent chance to win. Got to go for it. You never know. But once you can see it coming, that it's not going to work anymore, it's tough."
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But overall Federer was happy with his fortnight at the Australian Open, and he will look back with pride at what he achieved, especially in the phenomenal comeback wins over John Millman and Tennys Sandgren
But back to his future.
It's crazy to suggest that Federer should exit stage left, and preferably sooner rather than later.
Instead, he should continue playing for as long as he wants to, as long as his body holds up and he can balance myriad of tennis and family commitments.
Hopefully, that is a few more years yet.
He clearly still loves the game, the thrills, the competition and the battle of wits.
Watching Federer train at the Australian Open a few years ago was illuminating. He hit around 50-60 serves, practised ground strokes off both sides and worked on his net game.
Federer, who was hitting with a local junior, then had a few practice games, laughing with delight when an audacious drop shot, from well behind the court, fluttered over the net.
We saw the same expression with a couple of incredible efforts in the recent Millman and Sandgren epics.
The last few years have also allowed us to see another side of the tennis great, as he has been forced to compete in different ways, and cope with more setbacks, which if anything has made him even more likeable.
But Federer is still close to the top, and his game is nowhere near falling off a cliff.
He remains too strong for most players on tour, though winning 21 sets in a fortnight to take another grand slam might just be beyond him (those who knows what is still possible at Wimbledon).
But he remains very, very good.
He's not like John McEnroe — perhaps the only other player with comparable gifts of touch and technique — who never made another major final after the age of 26 and went downhill fairly rapidly.
He's not like Andre Agassi, whose body fell apart in his early 30s, while his mind tired of the grind, or Boris Becker, who flatlined in his fourth decade.
Peter Sampras retired at 31, with a then-record 14 grand slams, but has admitted it took at least four years to adjust to life without tennis.
But Roger keeps rolling.
Federer had a 53-10 win-loss record last year, with four titles, had two match points for another Wimbledon crown and a semi-final run at the French Open.
He should take some inspiration from Australian Ken Rosewall, who reached the Wimbledon and US Opens as a 39-year-old, then made the last four in Melbourne at 41 and 42, albeit in a vastly different era.
However you measure it, Federer's still achieving things on court that 95 per cent of professional players could only dream about.
They may not seem as impressive as his feats of the past, and he won't ever get back to the levels he attained between 2006-2010.
But neither will anyone else.