'Federer: Twelve Final Days' movie review: Federer’s sweet swansong is fascinating

Asif Kapadia and Joe Sabia’s directorial venture Federer: Twelve Final Days is a gripping account of Federer’s final few days before retirement.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 01:17 IST

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Federer: Twelve Final Days
Director:Asif Kapadia, Joe Sabia

July 3, 2022, was a Sunday for the ages. Having greeted all past champions at Wimbledon’s Centre Court with warmth and respect, the crowd erupted in frenzied joy and delivered a standing ovation as an eight-time champion walked into the arena. The same spirits which were lifted when the master raised hopes of a last hurrah at Wimbledon, were devastated months later when Roger Federer decided to hang his boots.

Asif Kapadia and Joe Sabia’s directorial venture Federer: Twelve Final Days is a gripping account of Federer’s final few days before retirement. Federer, a global tennis icon and arguably the biggest superstar of the game, plunged tennis fans into collective mourning with the shocking news, while the Alps shed its tears with bountiful rains. As he retires in view of his repeated knee surgeries and advancing age, he plans a grand exit.

The audience relives the iconic Laver Cup in London, where Federer caught up with arch-rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and other tennis stars on September 23, 2022, for a sweet swansong.

Interspersed with layers of old clips displaying his unmatched elegance on and off the court, the documentary’s biggest strength is its deep emotional connect. With timely interviews by the greatest of his rivals, his wife and parents, the audience gets a glimpse of Federer’s two roles — a sporting legend and a devout family man.

What stands out is the Swiss master’s bonhomie with his biggest rival Nadal. Despite only a few days to go for his wife’s first delivery, Nadal still makes it to London for Federer’s farewell. With the camaraderie, the duo gives sporting rivalry a refreshingly newer, nobler perspective. Being the oldest of the lot, Federer comes out as a class act when he says, “It feels right that of all the guys here, I am the first to go.”

However, with its emphasis on nuances, the documentary is best suited for a niche audience. The general public, who might be curious to discover Federer’s legacy before appreciating it fully, may be left a tad disappointed.

Editing by Avdhesh Mohla is top notch as it does justice to Federer’s majestic on-court grace. With slick visuals and a fine script, the documentary does justice to Federer’s legacy, which, as Nadal says “Will live forever.”

It’s a must-watch if you are a Federer fan. But even if not, don’t miss it as Federer was for decades synonymous with tennis.

Cut-off box - Federer: Twelve Final Days English (Prime Video) Director: Asif Kapadia Joe Sabia Rating: 4/5

Published 29 June 2024, 01:17 IST

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