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Roger Federer: Twelve Final Days documentary charts end of career

Roger Federer reacts after playing his final game a doubles with Spain's Rafael Nadal of Team Europe in the 2022 Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London.

At one point during Asif Kapadia and Joe Sabia’s new 90-minute documentary, the microphone picks up Roger Federer’s long-time coach Severin Luthi observing that “athletes die twice”.

That line is a central theme of Roger Federer: Twelve Final Days, which documents the period between the Swiss tennis great’s retirement announcement and his final match in September 2022.

After a 25-year professional career, during which he played 1,750 competitive matches and won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Federer’s final on-court appearance took place at the Laver Cup.

With tearful speeches, tributes, and appearances from legends such as Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, the occasion was a celebration, but also a way of saying goodbye to the then 40-year-old’s career.

Towards the end of the film, the tennis legend admits that thoughts of retirement had been accompanied by a troubling question: “What happens next?”

After Federer had made his decision to bow out, director Sabia was given behind-the-scenes access to the athlete’s family and team for this sensitive period.

Kapadia, who directed films on Ayrton Senna and Diego Maradona, was later brought on board to co-direct and add archive footage.

Here are a few takeaways from the documentary.

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