Roger Federer has announced his retirement ahead of the Laver Cup. The 20-time Grand Slam champion confirmed that the team event would be his final ATP Tour tournament. He has not played since Wimbledon last year after undergoing a third knee surgery and has now “recognised the time” to end his “competitive career”.
Federer will play his final tournament at next week’s Laver Cup in London’s O2 Arena alongside his biggest rivals – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The 41-year-old announced on Thursday that he had made the decision to end his competitive career following more than a year on the sidelines after undergoing a third knee surgery.
“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,” he wrote in a heartfelt statement on social media, also releasing an audio of himself reading the message.
“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 drama, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.”
Having previously entered next month’s ATP 500 event in his home of Basel, the 103-time title winner has now confirmed that the Laver Cup will instead be his final tournament. He continued: “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.
“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me. But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought was possible.”
ederer then went on to say thank you to everyone involved in his career, rounding off with a special message to his fans. The 41-year-old thanked his family and team first, including his “amazing wife Mirka”, “four wonderful children”, “my loving parents and my dear sister”, all of his coaches, team members and sponsors, and Swiss Tennis.
While he didn’t name anyone specifically, Federer also thanked his competitors and colleagues on the ATP Tour before turning his attention to his fans. He wrote: “Above all I must offer a special thank you to my unbelievable fans.
“You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me. The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.”
Federer looked back on his journey from being a ballkid at the Swiss Indoors in Basel to breaking records in his 24-year career and left one more message of gratitude in the emotional statement, adding: “So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true. Finally, to the game of tennis. I love you and will never leave you.”