20-time Grand Slam singles champion, Roger Federer has announced he will retire from professional tennis after the Laver Cup in London later this month.
The 41-year Switzerland tennis maestro, has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had a third knee operation and he is set to retire after 24 years on the ATP tour.
Only Spain’s Rafael Nadal, with 22 majors, and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, with 21, have more men’s Grand Slam singles titles than Federer.
Federer will play in next week’s Laver Cup in London, the Ryder Cup-style competition that was his brainchild, but will then leave the professional game.
Federer made the announcement via a letter posted on social media, which began: “To my tennis family and beyond. Of all the gifts that tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, has been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors, and most of all the fans who give the sport its life. Today, I want to share some news with all of you.
“As many of you know, 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.
He continued, “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 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.
“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.”
This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me. 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 that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”
To my tennis family and beyond,
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
Federer made his professional debut aged 16 in 1998 and won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003.
Wimbledon tweeted: “Roger, Where do we begin? It’s been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word. We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”
Federer’s final Grand Slam triumph came at the 2018 Australian Open when, aged 36, he broke a record to become the second-oldest man to win a major singles title in the Open era.
After rising to world number one for the first time in 2004, he spent 310 weeks as the leading player on the ATP Tour during his career – this was a record until it was surpassed by Novak Djokovic in February 2021.
Federer has struggled with a knee problem for the past three years that has restricted him to only three of the 11 Grand Slams staged since the start of 2020.
He has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year.
He subsequently announced he needed more surgery on his knee having previously had two operations in 2020.
Federer is the most successful grass-court male player of all-time.
Only Spain’s Rafael Nadal, with 22 majors, and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, with 21, have more men’s Grand Slam singles titles than Federer’s (20 Grand Slams)
He ends his career with a record total of eight men’s singles victories at Wimbledon.
He also won six Australian Open titles between 2004 and 2018.
He claimed all five of his US Open titles in a row between 2004 and 2008, while his one and only triumph on the French Open clay came in 2009.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
Federer also thanked his family for their support, writing: “I would like to especially thank my amazing wife Mirka, who has lived through every minute with me.
“She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches even while over eight months pregnant, and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years.
“I also want to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always eager to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way. Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.”
Federer’s retirement, coming less than a fortnight after Serena Williams was given an emotional send-off at the US Open, is another indication that this momentous era in tennis is drawing to a close.
“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget,” said Federer.
“We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.
“Above all, I must offer a special thank you to my unbelievable fans. You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me.
“The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.
“The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure. While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and magical that it seems as if I’ve already lived a full lifetime.”
Concluding his letter, Federer wrote: “When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder.
“They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself. Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.
“So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true. Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”
Roger Federer’s career in numbers
20 – Grand Slam titles
31 – Grand Slam finals
23 – consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals from 2004 to 2010, an all-time record
36 – consecutive appearances in Grand Slam quarter-finals
65 – consecutive Grand Slam appearances from the Australian Open in 2000 to the French Open in 2016
8 – Wimbledon titles, the most of any man
6 – Australian Open titles
5 – US Open titles
1 – French Open title
1,251 – career matches won out of 1,526
369 – match wins in Grand Slams
22 – consecutive appearances at Wimbledon
310 – weeks spent at world No 1, 237 of them consecutively
36 – at 36 years and 320 days, Federer was the oldest world No 1 in ATP history
5 – Federer has reached the final at every Grand Slam at least five times
103 – career titles, second in the Open era behind Jimmy Connors
6 – titles won at the ATP Finals, an all-time record
10 – titles won at the ATP events in Basle and Halle
12 – titles won in 2006, his most successful season
92 – matches won from 97 played in 2006
65 – consecutive matches won on grass from 2003 to 2008
3 – Federer reached the finals of all the Grand Slams in three different seasons
2 – Olympic medals; gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and silver in singles in 2012
24 – losses to his great rival Rafael Nadal from 40 matches
130,594,339 – career prize money (US dollars)
550million – estimated net worth (USD)
~Legend, Roger Federer.