After 24 years on tour, 1,500 matches, 20 Grand Slam titles and a countless number of iconic one-handed backhands, Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis.
At 41, he bows out as the undisputed king of London’s tennis home – with eight Wimbledon titles, the most in history – and will fittingly play his final professional game in the city this week.
In his farewell statement, Federer confirmed he would continue to play tennis, but the Laver Cup in London would be his last ATP event on tour. This takes place between September 23-26 at the O2 Arena, and marks the fifth edition of the indoor hardcourt competition.
“Of all the gifts that tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, has been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors, and most of all the fans who give the sport its life. I want to share some news with you,” he said in his statement.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries.”
“…Tennis has treated me more generously than I would have dreamt and now I must [recognise] when it is time to end my competitive career.”
Those who have followed Federer’s career from the UK will undoubtedly remember him for his fierce battles with Rafael Nadal on centre court at Wimbledon. The Swiss powerhouse also won five US Open titles in a row between 2004-2008, which still makes him the most successful tennis player in this competition. His 20 Grand Slam wins sit him only behind Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in the all-time rankings, and it’s hard not to wonder how many he could have racked up without the injuries he mentions in his statement.
It’s fitting, then, that Roger Federer should bow out alongside Rafael Nadal, as the pair team up for Federer’s last hurrah, as a doubles pair, on Friday night (September 23) at the Laver Cup.
Many view Federer as the greatest male tennis player to grace the court, but, regardless where you stand in that debate, the player will rightly be celebrated by all and receive an eruptive send off when he graces the London court this week.
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 young Swiss ball kid come true, ” he said to close his statement. “Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”
Find out more information on how to get tickets for the Laver Cup here.