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Old 06-16-2012, 07:29 AM   #1
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Default Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

People always go on about how Roger wont know when to retire or hes somehow harming his legacy by staying around when he is no longer a credible threat at slams.

But this is a non sensical argument to me.

Was Sampras really kidding anyone by retiring after the US OPEN win? He was never going to win a slam again. Its not like with Borg where people think ohhh look how much more he could have achieved.

Likewise if Roger Retired after 2010 AO, people know in their heart he wasnt going to go on and win heaps more slams. He wouldnt have fooled many people retiring after then. But hes still been able to do very well at the slams, earn heaps more money, and fight, put himself in a position to win even though he knows its not likely. Not give up at the first hurdle. He also may get his kids to see him play and remember it, which would be remarkable.

Of course, ideally you would want to retire on a slam win, but thats just not going to happen 95% of the time if you play into your thirties.

I dont get this argument people think a player is harming their legacy just by staying around and competing. It makes ZERO sense to me.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

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Originally Posted by 2003 View Post
Was Sampras really kidding anyone by retiring after the US OPEN win? He was never going to win a slam again.
The point is, you don't know that. If he had retired in 2001, you probably would have said the same thing... he's finished, no chance for another one. Yet he won the USO the next year.

Sampras winning the USO in 2002 showed that, when he retired, he still had what it takes to win a Slam. The possibility that he could have won more is there, therefore you can't be sure that he had truly achieved everything he was capable of before he retired.

Contrast with someone like Hewitt, who has stuck around to the point that winning another slam is now a virtual impossibility. You know that he has wrung every drop out of his Grand Slam career. There will be no 'what if' factor when he quits.

People who want players to retire on top are mostly ones who care about record books. If you retire before you start the severe decline, your match records, H2H against rivals, etc. will all be better. Fans of the player can also say "hey, he was still pretty good, he may have achieved more if he'd stayed with it".

Players don't care much about that stuff, because for them tennis is primarily a career. Federer is still earning tens of millions of dollars a year, he is still famous, he is still in with a chance of winning big tournaments. Probably most importantly, he is also still doing a job that he is extremely good at instead of being retired and bored, doing commentating or playing a few seniors tour matches. Most pro athletes are terrified of being retired and irrelevant at 30 and still having well over half their lives ahead of them, unable to do the only thing they have ever been good at.

I think if you asked Federer (or any pro athlete) if giving up all that - and also enduring the tantalising uncertainty over whether they could have won one last tournament - is worth protecting some silly stats, they would laugh in your face. I would much rather have a full and complete career than be too proud to let someone see me in decline. Most athletes, I think, would be the same.

Last edited by Caesar1844 : 06-16-2012 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

no poll?
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

There are all types of examples at the top level. Borg is one extreme, Connors is the other. It depends whether you derive pleasure in playing, irrespective of win or loss. But such pleasure could still be derived in club level play, after retiring from professional tour. Then money - if you earn as well as enjoy, why retire. Should one call it quits when he slides below the break even point. There would be no point in extending beyond direct entry in the majors. When one is financially secure, playing tennis has to be weighed against other enjoyable activities. Federer appears to be deriving best of both the worlds. He might continue till the age at which Agassi retired - no correlation between the two players psyche though.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

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Originally Posted by eskay View Post
It depends whether you derive pleasure in playing, irrespective of win or loss.
I think it has less to do with that, and more to do with feeling relevant, useful, etc.

Agassi hated tennis, and was a walking cripple, but he kept playing it was the only thing he knew and the only thing he was good at. He kept playing because he would have felt lost if he retired. He really only felt comfortable giving it away when he had a family to fill his life, and he knew that he had extracted everything he could from his playing career.

For many players, when you have spent your whole life on a tennis court, retirement looms as a massive gaping void. Can you imagine knowing you have well over half your life ahead of you, and no idea what to do with it? That is a terrifying thing that a lot of fans seemingly don't understand.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

About records, Federer will be breaking tons of records by just hanging around. Even up to now his career win percentage has been increasing every single year, up to the present. When you still win over 75% of your matches there is no reason to quit and Federer does much better. But in the end absolute numbers are more important, and he is still adding titles and has a good chance at another Slam.

He is even creating good H2H against supposed future top players a decade his junior, like Tomic and Raonic.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

It´s the only way. If you have any decency and manners towards your own fanbase, you retire on top. What you absolutely don´t do is make your own fans go through the pain and torture of decline and losses. That´s not what fans are for. Take Federer, for example: Retiring for his fans would be the only logical choice, but he´s already too late. I´m willing to admit this logic isn´t flawless, though. For Murray´s fans, it´been nothing but Slamless torture from the start, so it really doesn´t apply to him. He can keep going as long as he wants, it can´t get worse for his fans.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Federer established himself as the GOAT therefore Roger can't afford losing to random mugs at slams.
All players mentioned above by the OP were exceptional, yet Fed is someone you call " from a different planet".
Most GS titles, most weeks as world number one in a row and a truckload of other sick achievements.

Of course, there is no shame in dropping rankings when you hit 30+, that said considering the current weakness of the field I don't why Federer shouldn't play couple of years more. The only players who are stopping him from winning majors are Nadal and Djokovic, despite his advanced age fit Olderer is still too much for 99% of the tour at slams. Take away those two and Roger will be winning slams till his late 30's.
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Because Sampras made people think that shit (not intentional maybe but yet this stupid myth for gloryhunters has been created) and because many people on tennis forums, are gloryhunters (you have a few examples in that thread), many sports journalists as well (because big part of their job is about glorifying like crazy)

Also because in our modern fashion world it's harder for people to accept that it's a part of a human's life to get old and decline. Stupid as they will spend most of their life like that and they should respect humans' life : that's what they mostly have.

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Old 06-16-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

I do think that one of the richest sportsmen ever like him does not care about these arguments and basically plays when and where he wants to. Why would he have to give importance to statistics?!
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Think about Agassi's last year. He could have retired in 2005, head held high after making the US Open final. 2006 was a series of torturous matches because of his back. He did put on one last show against Baghdatis but I admit that, as good as that was, I remember his last match better. The suffering as he made sure he stayed on the court to the last point is what sticks with me. Of course he saved that speech for his actual last act.

It's tough to actually plan a great ending because your last match is likely to be a loss. You'd like to go out like Tim Henman did - winning his last Davis Cup match - but you're more likely to be limping away.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Same sig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2003 View Post
I dont get this argument people think a player is harming their legacy just by staying around and competing. It makes ZERO sense to me.
They're not real fans.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
It´s the only way. If you have any decency and manners towards your own fanbase, you retire on top. What you absolutely don´t do is make your own fans go through the pain and torture of decline and losses. That´s not what fans are for. Take Federer, for example: Retiring for his fans would be the only logical choice, but he´s already too late. I´m willing to admit this logic isn´t flawless, though. For Murray´s fans, it´been nothing but Slamless torture from the start, so it really doesn´t apply to him. He can keep going as long as he wants, it can´t get worse for his fans.
Lol, I always thought "retire for your fans" is a joke. MTF, where anything is possible.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
It´s the only way. If you have any decency and manners towards your own fanbase, you retire on top. What you absolutely don´t do is make your own fans go through the pain and torture of decline and losses. That´s not what fans are for. Take Federer, for example: Retiring for his fans would be the only logical choice, but he´s already too late.
What a complete load of tosswompery. No player owes any fan anything other than his best available effort. True fans love to watch their man compete at any stage of his career, win or lose.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why is it so important to "retire on top"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
It´s the only way. If you have any decency and manners towards your own fanbase, you retire on top. What you absolutely don´t do is make your own fans go through the pain and torture of decline and losses. That´s not what fans are for. Take Federer, for example: Retiring for his fans would be the only logical choice, but he´s already too late. I´m willing to admit this logic isn´t flawless, though. For Murray´s fans, it´been nothing but Slamless torture from the start, so it really doesn´t apply to him. He can keep going as long as he wants, it can´t get worse for his fans.
Retire for his tards and glory hunters, you mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fivebargate View Post
What a complete load of tosswompery. No player owes any fan anything other than his best available effort. True fans love to watch their man compete at any stage of his career, win or lose.
Never heard this one before

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