‘I know my body’s limits’: Tennis great Roger Federer announces his retirement

Roger Federer to retire from grand slam tennis

Tennis great Roger Federer has announced his retirement at the age of 41, saying he was listening to the message his body was telling him.

The 20-time grand-slam champion has been struggling with a knee problem for the past three years and has decided now is the time to step away.

Federer will play in next week’s Laver Cup in London, the Ryder Cup-style competition that was his brainchild, but will then leave the professional game.

Federer made the announcement via a letter posted on social media, which read: “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.

“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 1500 matches over 24 years.

“Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.

“The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in grand slams or on the tour.”

Federer has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last summer.

He subsequently announced he needed more surgery on his knee, having previously undergone two operations in 2020 that kept him out for more than a year.

Federer had targeted a full return following the last operation but it became increasingly clear that his rehabilitation was not going as well as he had hoped.

His retirement was hailed the “saddest day in tennis” by one of his old rivals, David Ferrer, as the sport reacted emotionally to the news.

Rafael Nadal echoed the sentiment saying: “I wish this day would have never come.”

“It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”

Wimbledon tweeted: “Roger, Where do we begin? It’s been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word.

“We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”

The ATP Tour issued its own tribute to Federer, simply saying: “You changed the game, #RForever. ”

Beloved genius of tennis

Federer hangs up his racquet as not just one of the best, but one of the most loved, athletes of all time, a sporting god inspiring devotion in millions.

At his best, Federer’s feet never seemed to touch the court, manoeuvring him effortlessly into position to swat away an impossible winner with the merest flick of his wrist.

Although he’s defied the passing of time more successfully than most, that will not lessen the feeling of sadness that finally the end has arrived.

Sadness in the locker room, too, where he was known as friendly and approachable despite his stature, while his peers are all too aware how much they owe Federer for the benefits generated by the sport’s increased popularity.

The way things have played out would no doubt be a shock to the boy from the Swiss border city of Basel, who was a prodigious talent but also a hot-head prone to teenage tantrums and racquet smashes.

It was not until he saw a psychologist and learned, Bjorn Borg-style, how to find his inner calm that he began to live up to his potential.

Every time Federer won, his interpretation of tennis as art seemed to sprinkle a little more stardust on the game.

Federer’s game was about beauty and grace, but he possessed great mental fortitude, too. Still, the sense was always that, for him, it was not just about winning or losing but about how you played the game.

The debate about who is the greatest of all-time will rumble on, but tennis knows all too well there will never be another Roger Federer.

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