Tennis giant Roger Federer has announced that he will call it quits after next week’s Laver Cup.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion made this announcement on Thursday via his Instagram account.
“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 41-year-old Swiss international wrote.
Federer has been struggling with a knee problem for the past three years and has decided it’s time to retire from active tennis.
Federer will be in London next week to take part in Laver Cup which will also be his last professional game.
“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 on Instagram.
“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. 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
“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 possible.
“I would like to especially thank my amazing wife Mirka, who has lived through every minute with me.
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“She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches even while over eight months pregnant, and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years.
“I also want to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always eager to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way. Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.
“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget.
“We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.
“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.
“The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure. While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and magical that it seems as if I’ve already lived a full lifetime.”
The Swiss who many considered as “the greatest tennis player of all time” concluded his letter by saying: “When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder.
“They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself. Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.
“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.”
Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record has been surpassed by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Rafael Nadal took to twitter to pen an emotional tribute to his arch rival.
The Spanish international tweeted “Dear Roger, my friend and rival. 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 honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.
“We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that. For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London @LaverCup.”
Tributes keep pouring in honor of the tennis legend.