Roger Federer: Retiring from professional tennis is a bittersweet decision

Roger Federer announced his “bittersweet” decision to end his professional tennis career.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion has struggled with a knee problem for the past three years, aged 41, before losing in his bid for one last race.

Federer will play in next week’s Laver Cup in London, a Ryder Cup-style competition that was his brainchild, but he will leave the professional game after that.

“As many of you know, the past three years have faced me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I have worked hard to get back into full competitive shape. But I also know my body’s capabilities and limitations, and lately his message to me has been cherished. I’m 41,” Federer said in a statement on social media. years”.

“I have played over 1,500 matches in 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I could have ever dreamed of, and now I must realize the time is right to end my competitive career.

“Next week’s Laver Cup in London will be my last ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but not just at a Grand Slam or on the Tour.”

Federer has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last summer.

He later announced that he needed more surgery on his knee, having previously undergone two operations in 2020 that kept him out of action for more than a year.

Federer has targeted a full return after the last operation, but it is becoming increasingly clear that his rehabilitation has not been what he had hoped.

The Swiss, who won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, thanked his family for their support, writing: “I would like to especially thank my wonderful wife Mirka, who lived with me every minute.

“She warmed me up before the finals, watched countless matches even when I was eight months pregnant, and endured my goofy sides on the road with my team for over 20 years.

“I would also like to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always keen to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way. Seeing my family cheering for me from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.”

Federer’s retirement, less than two weeks after Serena Williams’ emotional farewell to the US Open, is another indication that this important era in tennis is coming to an end.

He continued, “I have been fortunate enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget.

“We fought with integrity, with passion and strength, and I have always done my best to honor the history of the game. I am so grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.

“Above all else, I must give a special thanks to my wonderful fans. You will never know how much strength and faith you have given me.

“The inspiring feeling of walking through stadiums and arenas was one of the immense excitement of my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.

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“The last 24 years on the tour have been a wonderful adventure. While it sometimes seems like 24 hours have passed, it has also been so deep and magical that it feels as if I have already lived a lifetime.”

Concluding his message, Federer wrote: “When my love for tennis began, I was a kid with the ball in my hometown of Basel. I watched the players with a sense of amazement.

“They were giants to me and I started dreaming. My dreams made me work harder and I started believing in myself. Some success made me feel confident and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led me to this day.

“So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who helped make the dreams of a little Swiss ball kid come true. Finally, on tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”

Rafael Nadal said it was an “honour” to share “amazing moments” with Federer.

“Dear Roger, my friend and rival, I hope this day never comes,” Nadal wrote on Twitter.

“It has been a pleasure but also an honor and a privilege to share all these years with you, living so many wonderful moments on and off the field.”

Wimbledon tweeted: “Roger, where do we begin? It’s such an honor to witness your journey and to see you become a champion in every sense of the word. We will miss the sight of you overseeing our pitches, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you’ve given so many.” “.