Roger Federer has announced his retirement from competitive tennis with London acting as host to his farewell after 24 years on tour.
The 41-year-old will compete for the last time at the Laver Cup at the O2 next weekend, his return to action for the first time since surgery on his knee after last year’s Wimbledon championships.
But in a lengthy statement, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said it would be the final outing of his professional career.
“The past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to return to full-time 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 1500 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.”
To my tennis family and beyond,
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
Federer made his debut on the ATP Tour in 1998 and won the first of his Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2003. He would go on to win 103 tournaments in total and earn in excess of £110million in prize money alone.
His 20th and final Grand Slam title came at the Australian Open in 2018, and only Rafael Nadal with 22 and Novak Djokovic with 21 boast more major titles. Despite the statistics, he is still regarded by many as the greatest male player in history.
He had hoped to return to play at Wimbledon, where he won eight singles titles, one more time but admitted he had been defeated in that quest.
“This is a bittersweet decision because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” he said. “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 did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”
In his valedictory, he paid tribute to his wife Mirka, the couple’s children, his management team and his supporters, as well as his rivals on court.
In Pictures | Roger Federer
“I want to thank my competitors on the court,” he said. “I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget. We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the team. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other and together we took tennis to new levels.
“The last 24 years 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. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.”