Veteran tennis sensation, Roger Federer has bid farewell to the sport he loves so much, announcing his retirement on Thursday.
Federer, in a statement on Thursday said the past three years had presented him with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries.
He said he had worked hard to return to full competitive form, but said he also knew his body’s capacities and limits, and its message to him lately had 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 recognize when it is time to end my competitive career,” he said.
Federer added that this was a bittersweet decision, because he would miss everything the tour had given him.
“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 I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible, he said.
Federer added that when his love of tennis started, he was a ball kid in his hometown of Basel, saying he 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,” he said.
Federer, 41, was ranked world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) for 310 weeks, including a record 237 consecutive weeks, and has finished as the year-end No. 1 five times.
He has won 103 ATP singles titles, the second most of all time, including 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a record eight men’s singles Wimbledon titles, an Open Era record-tying five men’s singles US Open titles, and a record six year-end championships.
Federer has played in an era where he dominated men’s tennis along with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the Big Three, collectively considered by some to be the three most successful male tennis players of all time.
A Wimbledon junior champion in 1998, Federer won his first major singles title at Wimbledon in 2003 at age 21. Between 2003 and 2009, he made 21 out of 28 major singles finals.
During this span, he won three of the four majors and the ATP Finals in 2004, 2006, and 2007, as well as five consecutive titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
He completed the career Grand Slam at the 2009 French Open after three consecutive runner-up finishes to Nadal, his main rival until 2010. At age 27, he surpassed Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major men’s singles titles at Wimbledon in 2009.
Although Federer remained in the Top 3 during most of the early 2010s, the success of Djokovic and Nadal ended his dominance over grass and hard court, winning two majors between 2010 and 2016.
During this period, he and Stan Wawrinka led the Switzerland Davis Cup team to their first title in 2014, following their Olympic doubles gold victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Federer also won a silver medal in singles at the 2012 London Olympics, where he finished runner-up to Andy Murray.
After a half-year hiatus in late 2016 to recover from knee surgery, Federer made a stellar return to tennis, winning three more majors over the next two years, including the 2017 Australian Open over Nadal and an eighth singles title at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.
At the 2018 Australian Open, Federer became the first man to win 20 major singles titles and shortly the oldest ATP world No. 1 at age 36. In September 2022, he announced his retirement from high-level tennis following the Laver Cup later that month.
A versatile all-court player, Federer’s perceived effortlessness has made him highly popular among tennis fans. Originally lacking self-control as a junior, he transformed his on-court demeanor to become well-liked for his general graciousness, winning the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award 13 times.
He has also won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award a record five times. Outside of competing, he played an instrumental role in the creation of the Laver Cup team competition. He is also an active philanthropist.
He established the Roger Federer Foundation, which targets impoverished children in southern Africa, and has raised funds in part through the Match for Africa exhibition series.
He is routinely one of the top ten highest-paid athletes in any sport and ranked first among all athletes with $100 million in endorsement income in 2020.