Based on the past 12 months, there are some notable sports stars who might have been listening extra closely to McCoy’s experience of retirement – or indeed to anyone else who has spoken candidly about the difficulty of ending a successful sporting career.
Among them is Roger Federer, who called time on his trophy-laden tennis career at the Laver Cup in September after years spent trying to recover from two knee surgeries.
In the letter announcing his retirement, Federer, like McCoy, alluded to the heightened emotions of being a professional athlete and how they make saying goodbye so hard.
“I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive,” Federer wrote. “To the game of tennis,” he signed off the letter, “I love you and will never leave you.”
Those final words were reassuring for fans who have admired Federer’s career for so many years, but also spoke to another issue: namely, of how hard it can be to walk away entirely from professional sport after retirement.
It remains to be seen exactly how Federer will remain involved in tennis moving forward, and the same can be said of Serena Williams, who announced she would “evolve away from tennis” ahead of this year’s US Open – but refused to say she was retiring.
On several occasions over the past three months, the 23-time grand slam champion has even teased fans about a potential return to tennis.