Roger Federer announces retirement; 20-time Grand Slam champion to play Laver Cup as final event – ESPN

Roger Federer announces retirement;  20-time Grand Slam champion to play Laver Cup as final event - ESPN

Roger Federer retires from professional tennis at age 41 after a series of knee surgeries, ending a career in which he won 20 Grand Slam titles, finished five seasons ranked No. 1 and helped create a golden age of men’s tennis with rivals. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

“As many of you know, the last three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Federer said Thursday in a post on his social media accounts. “I’ve been working hard to get back into full competitive shape. But I also know my body’s capabilities and limitations, and its message to me lately has been clear.

“I’m 41 years old. I’ve played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever dreamed, and now I have to recognize when it’s time to end my competitive career.”

Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles rank third all-time among male players behind only contemporaries Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21).

Federer said he intends to continue playing tennis, “but just not in a Grand Slam or on the tour.” He has not played a competitive match since reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2021 and announced in mid-August that he had undergone another knee operation.

But he appeared at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Center Court at the All England Club in July and said he hoped to return to play there “one more time”. He also said he will return to tournament action at the Swiss Indoors in October.

“This is a bittersweet decision because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” Federer said. “But at the same time, there’s so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the luckiest people on Earth. I’ve been given a special talent to play tennis, and I’ve been doing it at a level I never imagined, for much longer than I ever have.” thought possible.”

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray are set to play together for the first time when they compete September 23-25 ​​as part of Team Europe at the Laver Cup in London. Named after Australian great Rod Laver, the three-day team event, which is run by Federer’s management company, pits six of Europe’s best players against six from the rest of the world.

Federer leaves with 103 tour-level titles on his extensive resume and 1,251 singles match wins, both second only to Jimmy Connors in the Open era that began in 1968. Federer’s records include being the oldest No. 1 in ATP rankings history — he returned to the top spot at 36 in 2018 — and the most consecutive weeks there; his total weekly mark was eclipsed by Djokovic.

When Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, Pete Sampras held the men’s record for titles; he won his 14th at the US Open the year before in what turned out to be the final match of the American’s career.

Federer would go on to break beyond that, finishing with 20 by winning eight championships at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the US Open and one at the French Open. His 2009 trophy at Roland Garros allowed Federer to complete a career Grand Slam.

His serve, forehand, footwork and attacking style will all be remembered. Also unforgettable were his matches against younger rivals Nadal, 36, and Djokovic, 35, both of whom matched, then surpassed, Federer’s Slam total and continue to win titles at the sport’s four biggest tournaments.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I’ll never forget,” Federer said in Thursday’s announcement. Addressing his “competitors on the court,” though not by name, he wrote: “We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.”

Federer and his wife, Mirka — also a tennis player; they met as athletes at the Olympics — have two twins.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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