Roger Federer announces retirement from tennis after stellar career

Roger Federer will retire from professional tennis next week at the age of 41 after the Laver Cup in London, marking the end of one of the greatest sporting careers of all time.

A 20-time grand slam champion, Federer announced in a social media post on Wednesday that next week will be his last as a professional tennis player. Federer’s management firm, Team8, are founders of the Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event: “The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour,” wrote the 41-year-old.

Federer has not competed since Wimbledon last year when he lost 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 in the quarter-final to Hubert Hurkacz and it emerged that Federer had reinjured the knee that had already kept him out of the tour for over a year. Federer has only contested five events since January 2020 and has undergone three knee surgeries in that period. He cited his late-career injury issues as the reason for his retirement.

“The past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form,” wrote Federer. “But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.”

Federer has compiled one of the all-time great tennis careers and for a large period he held the men’s record for total grand slam titles, outpacing his idol, Pete Sampras, the previous record holder whose count of 14 was once considered to be almost untouchable.

Throughout his career he unlocked other records that stand as a marker of his consistency and excellence, such as reaching 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals and 36 consecutive quarter-finals. Federer has also won 103 ATP singles titles, 28 ATP Masters titles and six ATP Finals. Of his 1526 matches on the ATP tour, he compiled a 1251-275 (82%) career singles record.

In 2003, Federer won his first grand slam title aged 21 at Wimbledon and within 14 months he had established his dominance. Between 2004 and 2007, when Federer stood at the height of his powers, he compiled a 247-15 (94%) record and methodically redefined what greatness in the men’s game looked like.

As Federer pushed the sport to unimaginable heights, the standard he set inspired notable challengers to follow, with Rafael Nadal, now 36 years old, and then later Novak Djokovic, 35, eventually rising to form the big three, arguably the greatest era of men’s tennis the sport has seen.

The numbers and the successes only tell a small fraction of Federer’s story. He was born in Basel to a Swiss father, Robert, and a South African mother, Lynette, and he spent some of his formative years as a ball kid at the Swiss Indoors in his hometown of Basel, which he still frequently mentions today.

In his youth, Federer was renowned for his fiery temperament and a lack of discipline on the court despite the obvious talent that set him apart. From those early foundations, Federer evolved into a player whose composure in the big moments was a defining aspect of his success.

To many, Federer’s success was even more meaningful for the ease with which he seemed to navigate the sport. Federer possessed smooth, effortless technique, a toolbox of shots as vast as any player in the world and his willingness to constantly explore a net set him apart at a time when modern tennis continued to move back towards the baseline.

Between his success, his style and his pleasant persona, Federer has transcended the sport to become one of the most famous athletes in the world. Even now, four years since his last grand slam title at the 2018 Australian Open, he is still by far the highest earner in the sport.

Although injuries finally came for him, Federer’s longevity is one of his greatest achievements. He outpaced many of his closest rivals by over a decade, with numerous contemporaries eventually emerging as coaches to his opponents or interviewing him while he continued to win deep into his 30s. Now, he will finally join them.

“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” wrote Federer. “But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”

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