If Serena Williams’ retirement was not enough, tennis fans now will have to deal with another high-profile exit in the same year, after Roger Federer confirmed his retirement through social media. The upcoming Laver Cup, set to begin later this month, will be the last tournament of his competitive career. 

“To my tennis family and beyond. 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. Today, I want to share some news with all of you,” wrote Federer.

A recurring knee injury has prevented Federer from stepping onto the court since last year’s Wimbledon. Arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer will finish his career with 20 grand slams, third only to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

Federer’s ascension began exactly at a time when the tennis world, bereft of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, needed a new icon. And the Swiss did well to hold public imagination with his unreal consistency and aggressive gameplay. He broke Sampras’ record of 14 majors by winning Wimbledon in 2009, and then also became the first player to reach 20 grand slams. 

Federer is also the only tennis player to win both the Wimbledon and the US Open on five consecutive occasions. His late career was plagued by injuries and talked about this in his retirement video. 

“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full 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 1,500 matches over 24 years.”

He faced a stiff challenge from Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Between 2010 and 2016 he managed only two grand slams. Federer’s most agonizing defeat came in 2019 when he succumbed to Novak Djokovic after failing to capitalize on multiple match points. 

Lead Image: Roland Garros