Swiss tennis player Roger Federer on Thursday announced plans to retire from playing professionally following next week’s Laver Cup in London.
In a statement posted on social media, Federer noted that he has been dealing with injuries and surgeries over the last three years, adding that he’s “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,” he said. “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 recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.”
In the last three years, Federer has struggled with a knee problem that prompted him to undergo surgery several times and blocked him from playing in all but three of the 11 Grand Slams held since the start of 2020, BBC reported. On Thursday, he called the decision to retire “bittersweet.”
“I will miss everything the tour has given me,” he said. “But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate.”
Federer was 16 in 1998 when he began his professional career, according to BBC. He won his first Grand Slam title five years later at Wimbledon. Over the course of his career, he claimed 20 Grand Slam trophies — more than any man in history aside from Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
In a statement on Thursday, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said Federer “redefined greatness on the court.”
“Roger’s impact on tennis, and the legacy he’s built, are impossible to overstate,” he said. “Over 24 years as a professional, Roger brought millions of adoring fans into the game. He spearheaded an incredible new era of growth and elevated the popularity of our sport. Few athletes have transcended their field in such a manner. Roger made us all feel proud and fortunate to be part of the same sport.”
On Thursday, Federer called his career “an incredible adventure.”
“While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and magical that it sees as if I’ve already lived a full lifetime,” he said. “I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.”
Federer is set to play alongside Nadal, Djokovic and the United Kingdom’s Andy Murray as part of Team Europe at the Laver Cup. The competition runs from Sept. 23 to Sept. 25.
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