Former World No. 1 Illie Nastase spoke out several days ago regarding the debate on whether 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer should retire from the sport. The former US Open champion was appauled with the debate and was adamant that Federer “can play to 60” if he wanted to.
“I wish people wouldn’t say that Federer has to retire. I think Federer should play for as long as he wants. I don’t agree with those people who say that you should retire when you are past your absolute best or prime. No, Federer doesn’t have to prove anything. Federer can play to 60 if he wants to. If he wants to carry on playing, no one is going to say, ‘no, we don’t want Federer to play’. He is going to retire when he feels like it.”
Nastase followed up by saying that just because he is no longer World no. 1, that does not mean that he no longer has a place in the sport and should exit. As long as he is enjoying himself, he should continue competing.
“I don’t think that he has to retire just because he is no longer the world number one. That happens to everybody, as you can’t stay as the world number one forever. He retires whenever. Federer said something interesting once. He said that he was watching Rod Laver, and me, and he said he was trying to copy us and to be like us. And that’s a great compliment for us.”