“I know Roger well enough to know that he still has the flame burning to compete,” Tony Godsick, Federer’s longtime agent and business partner recently said on Instagram. “His real motivation is to come back to compete on the ATP tour and sort of try to end his career, the way he wants to end it, healthy and successful and on his terms.”
Although Venus won just three matches in nine events last year, and just played her first singles match since last August at last week’s Citi Open, her hiatus seems more like a reset than a stealth retirement. When Venus got a look at the grass at Wimbledon during a busman’s holiday in London, she “got excited.” She entered the mixed doubles (with Jamie Murray) on an impulse. After they won a match, Venus told reporters that her joy at winning was “real,” and that she had “felt something in her heart.”
Venus remained guarded about her plans after losing in the second round of the mixed, but she warned, “You never know where I’ll pop up.” Within weeks, we knew: Venus accepted a wild card into the Citi Open, along with this week’s WTA 1000 event in Toronto, seemingly to prepare for another US Open bid.
Serena also appears to be targeting the US Open, still hoping to bag that elusive, record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Her prep work begins in Toronto today. Williams lost a fiercely-contested first-round match to Harmony Tan at Wimbledon, after which a reporter asked if she was “okay” with that loss as her final memory from Wimbledon. She replied, “Obviously not. You know me. Definitely not.”