Tennis great Roger Federer has today announced his retirement from the game. The 41-year-old has had to concede defeat – not something he has much experience in – and accept that recent injuries and surgeries, together with and over 1,500 competitive matches over a 24 year career, have taken their toll on his body’s capabilities and now is the time to call it a day. The Laver Cup to be held in London starting next week will be his final APT event.
Injury got the better of him
He has not played competitively since the last eight of Wimbledon, where he lost to Hubert Hurkacz, after which he had two more operations on his troublesome knee. Many thought he might bow out then, but such is his determination, he felt he could make a full recovery and challenge for the number one spot once more. However, it become increasingly obvious that his rehabilitation was not progressing to plan.
He debuted on the tennis circuit aged just sixteen, way back in 1998 and won his first major Grand Slam at Wimbledon five years later, a venue that became his favourite, with him going on to be successful a total of eight times. Indeed, Federer is the most successful grass-court male player of all-time with his last triumph at the All England Club coming in 2017.
The man to beat
He also won six Australian Open, and five US Open titles, with a French thrown in for good measure. He was very much the man to beat alongside his great rivals Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal and to a lesser extent, Andy Murray.
He played in an astonishing 31 Grand Slam finals, the last of which came at Wimbledon in 2019, when he was defeated by Djokovic, despite having held two championship points. He also won the Olympics doubles gold for Switzerland alongside Stan Wawrinka at the Beijing Games of 2008 and then surprisingly to some, had to settle for a silver medal in the 2012 singles in London, 2012 when Murray got the better of him.
Thanks all round
He thanked his family and legions of fans for their wholehearted support and backing throughout his illustrious career. He paid his respects to his great rivals by saying he considered that they had taken the game to a completely different level, whilst remembering to acknowledge everyone who had helped get him to those levels in the sport he loved. His retirement, comes less than two weeks after Serena Williams was given an emotional send-off at the US Open, is another indication that this incredible era in the sport is drawing to a close.
In numbers his records is mightily impressive.
In total he won: 20 Grand Slam titles; appeared in 31 Grand Slam finals; made 23 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals between 2004 to 2010, which is an an all-time record and 36 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam quarter-finals. He reached the final at every Grand Slam event at least five times, reaching the final of all the big four Slams in the same season, on three separate occasions.
Almost unbeatable for a time
As already mentioned he won 8 Wimbledon titles, 6 Australian Open titles, 5 US Open titles and 1 French Open title. Out of 1,526 matches played he won 1,251 of them, 369 in Grand Slam tournaments. He had 103 career titles, with 12 coming in 2006, his most successful season, when he won 92 of the 97 matches played.
Oldest World Number One
He spent 310 weeks in total as world No 1, and 237 of them were consecutive and when he achieved the distinction at the age of 36 years and 320 days, he became the oldest world No 1 in ATP history. He earned a staggering $130,594,339 in career prize money, supplemented by his sponsorship deals that more than tripled those figures. He had appeared in the top-10 of Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, every year since 2012.
Maybe he hasn’t thought this through properly, he may not be able to fully afford to call it a day just yet? Although no doubt there will be a few dollars available on the exhibition circuit. Seriously, he has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport, always conducting himself with great dignity and respect for his opponent. He will be missed.