In an interview set to air on American morning TV show Today on Wednesday, the Swiss superstar confirmed to journalist Savannah Guthrie that he won’t be going back on his decision to hang up his racket following a professional career of more than two decades that saw him win 20 grand slam singles titles.
The 41-year-old has battled injuries in recent years, undergoing multiple knee surgeries and competing in just two grand slams since reaching the semi-finals of the 2020 Australian Open, which culminated in a retirement announcement posted to social media last week.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” said Federer in his statement. “I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. 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.
“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.”
He will return to the court one final time at the Laver Cup in London - a team event where Europe take on Team World, which runs from Friday to Sunday this weekend - to say goodbye, although his exact playing schedule for the tournament will be confirmed later in the week.
But when pushed by Guthrie on whether he might go back on his decision and replicated another all-time sporting great - NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who retired in February but later opted to return for his age-45 season - Federer was unequivocal.
“You know, un-retiring is a thing now,” probed Guthrie. “You’re done?”
“No, no. I am definitely done,” Federer replied. “I know that, yeah.”
The eight-time Wimbledon champion spent 310 weeks at No 1 in the world rankings throughout his career, including a men’s-record 237 consecutive weeks atop the pile from 2004 to 2008, and heads to retirement shortly after Serena Williams - who similarly defined and dominated an era - announced that she would be “evolving away from tennis.”