Roger FedererConsidered by many to be the greatest male player there is tennis and who has taken the sport to the next level in a career spanning more than two decades, will retire after the Laver Cup in London next week.
The 41-year-old, who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles and redefined a sport with his artistry and grace, broke the news that tennis fans around the world from long feared in a lengthy statement on Thursday.
A knee injury means he hasn’t played a single match since his loss at Wimbledon last year, although many still hope he can return for the final golden farewell.
But he says his age has finally caught up with him.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with many challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Federer said in an 845-word statement posted on social media.
“I have worked hard to get back to full play. But I also know my body’s capabilities and limitations, and its message has been clear to me lately. I am 41 years old this year.
“I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever dreamed possible, and now I must realize that it is time to end my playing career. Next week’s Laver Cup in London will be my last ATP event. Of course, I will play more tennis in the future, but not at Grand Slams or on tour. “
Roger Federer Wins First Tennis Match With Serena Williams
Serena Williams’ tennis career is likely to come to an end after her emotional exit from the US Open earlier this month and Federer’s statement sets the sport off to the end of its golden era.
Federer, who dominated men’s tennis for several years after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003 and who forged intense confrontations with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, has been troubled by injury. In recent years.
He has undergone three knee surgeries in the past two years and his last match was a quarter-final loss to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon 2021.
Federer gave fans some hope when he said he plans to return to the tour after teaming up with longtime rival and friend Nadal for doubles at the Laver Cup in London on Sunday. next week.
He was also scheduled to play at the Swiss indoor tournament at home in Basel.
Roger Federer celebrates his birthday at the Rogers Cup
But he will be signing in London, the city where his unique tennis batting skills first captivated the tennis world and beyond.
“I wish this day would never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world,” Nadal, who has eclipsed Federer by winning 22 Grand Slam titles, wrote on Twitter. “It has been a joy but also an honor and privilege to share the years with you, living so many great moments on and off the field.
“We will have many moments to share together in the future, there is still a lot of work to be done.
“I’ll see you in London.”
Federer, who has twins with wife Mirka, whom he met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and married in 2009, said his decision to retire was bittersweet.
“But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the luckiest people on earth,” said Federer, whose total on-court income is $130 million.
“I’ve been endowed with an exceptional talent to play tennis, and I’ve done it at a level I never imagined, longer than I ever thought possible.”
Federer has always been considered an outstanding young player when he first picked up a racquet in Basel and won the Wimbledon championship in 1998.
Three years later, he beat America’s great Pete Sampras on his way to the quarterfinals at the All England Club and it seemed only a matter of time before his breakthrough came.
In 2003, he overcame Mark Philippoussis on Wimbledon’s Center Court to start a Grand Slam collection that many thought would never match, although he is currently third on the list of all-time men’s tennis players. era after Nadal and Djokovic (21).
Federer went on to win seven more Wimbledon titles, five US Open titles, six Australian titles and a single French Open achieved in 2009 to complete his career Slam.
He also holds the record for 237 consecutive weeks as world number one and the only omission in his glittering CV is an Olympic singles gold medal, losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 final, although he won. won the doubles in 2008.
His last Grand Slam title was at the 2018 Australian Open, at the age of 36, making him the oldest world number one in ATP rankings history. The following year, he lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final after holding head-to-head points.
Federer finished with 103 career titles, second behind Jimmy Connors, reaching 157 finals and setting a string of records. However, the statistics cannot do justice to an iconic tennis player who is closest to tennis royalty and who has transcended the sports world.
Praises poured in after Federer’s statement.
“You changed the game #RForever” men’s ATP posted on Twitter, while women’s great Billie Jean King described him as “champion of champions.”
“He had the most complete game of his generation and captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with his incredible agility on the court and a strong tennis mind,” said the player. American pioneer said.
Wimbledon, where Federer’s eight-title record, sums up the sentiment perfectly.
“Where do we start?” it said on its Twitter account. “It is a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word.
“We’ll miss you playing on our pitch, but all we can say right now is thank you, for the memories and joy you’ve given so many people.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra and Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge)