“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,” the Swiss legend said Thursday
After a storied career with 20 Grand Slam titles, two Olympic medals and multiple number 1 rankings, tennis great Roger Federer is hanging up his racket, he announced Thursday.
Federer, 41, said that the upcoming Laver Cup tournament, which kicks off next week in London, will be the final match of his 24-year career.
“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 and competitive form,” he explained in a video shared on social media. “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’ve 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 recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.”
Federer said that the Laver Cup, a team tournament that he partnered to launch in 2017, will be his “final ATP event.”
To my tennis family and beyond,
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
“I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour,” he said.
“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” he continued. “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.”
The Swiss tennis player went pro in 1998 at age 16, and quickly moved through the ranks, entering the top 100 ranking a year later. His big breakthrough came at age 19, at Wimbledon in 2001, when he made it to the quarterfinals. Just two years later, he captured his first Grand Slam singles title on that same grass court where he would go on to become an unstoppable force.
Over the next decade, he racked up an incredible 16 Grand Slam singles wins and dozens more titles at smaller tournaments. He, along with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, dominated the men’s tennis scene as the “Big 4,” winning nearly every tournament and leaving little room for other players to edge their way in.
“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget,” Federer said in his video, thanking his competitors.
As Federer dealt with injuries towards the end of his career, he started to slow down, but picked up three more Grand Slam titles — at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017, and then again at the Australian Open in 2018 — often in lengthy, epic battles. His last Grand Slam appearance was at Wimbledon in 2021.
Federer thanked his wife, Mirka, and their four children in his retirement video.
“She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches even while over 8-months pregnant and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years,” he said. “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 said that “above all,” he has to thank his fans.
“The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life,” he said. “Without you those successes would’ve felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.”
“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.”
The Laver Cup begins Sept. 23.[via]