Roger Federer announces retirement; The 20-time Grand Slam winner plays the Laver Cup as the closing event
Roger Federer is retiring from professional tennis at the age of 41 after a series of knee surgeries, ending a career in which he has won 20 Grand Slam titles, finished 5 seasons at No. 1 and helped start a golden era in men’s tennis to create 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 in a post on his social media accounts on Thursday. “I worked hard to become fully competitive again. But I also know my body’s capacities and limitations, and its message to me has been clear lately.
“I’m 41 years old. I’ve played more than 1500 matches in 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever dreamed and now I have to realize when it’s time to end my competitive career. “
To my tennis family and beyond,
– Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022
Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles rank third all-time among men’s players, behind only contemporaries Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21).
Federer said he intends to continue playing tennis “but just not in Grand Slams or on the Tour”. He had not played a competitive game since reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon 2021 and announced in mid-August that he had undergone further knee surgery.
But he had appeared at a Center Court centenary event at the All England Club in July and said he hoped to play there “one more time”. He had also announced that he would be returning to tournament action at the Swiss Indoors in October.
“It’s a bittersweet decision because I will miss everything the Tour has given me,” said Federer. “But at the same time there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the happiest people in the world. I was given a special talent to play tennis and have done it at a level I could never have imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”
Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray will play together for the first time when they compete as part of Team Europe at the Laver Cup in London on September 23-25. Named after the great Australian Rod Laver, the three-day team event, run by Federer’s management company, pits six of Europe’s best players against six from the rest of the world.
Federer walks away with 103 tour-level titles to his impressive résumé 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 – returning to the top at 36 in 2018 – and most consecutive weeks there; His overall 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, having won his 14th at the US Open the year before in what turned out to be the last game of the American’s career.
Federer would go well beyond that and end up winning 20, 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 memorable were his matches against younger rivals Nadal (36) and Djokovic (35), both of whom equaled and then surpassed Federer’s Slam totals and are still winning titles in the sport’s four biggest tournaments.
“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget,” said Federer 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 a new level.”
Federer and his wife Mirka – also a tennis player; They met when they were athletes at an Olympics – they have two pairs of twins.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.