Roger Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam singles champion, on Thursday announced his retirement from top-level tennis, saying that next week's Laver cup will be his final ATP final tour-level event.
The 41-year-old has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had a third knee operation.
"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 capabilities 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," the tennis great said in a statement on Twitter.
"Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt and now I must recognise when it's 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," he added.
Tennis legend's career milestones
The Swiss legend held World No 1 in the ATP Rankings for 310 weeks, good for second since 1973 behind only Novak Djokovic. However, Federer held the top spot for a record 237 consecutive weeks from February 2, 2004 until August 18, 2008.
Federer served the sport as president of the ATP Player Council from 2008-14 and later re-joined the council from 2019-22. He was influential in securing significant prize money increases for players. Through the Roger Federer Foundation, the Swiss has assisted almost two million underprivileged children in Africa.
At Roland Garros in 2009, Federer completed the Career Grand Slam and at Wimbledon one month later, he broke Pete Sampras' Open Era record by lifting his 15th major trophy. He went on to claim 20 Grand Slam trophies, which now trails only Rafael Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21).
The Swiss earned six Australian Open triumphs, the 2009 Roland Garros title, eight Wimbledon trophies and five consecutive US Open victories (2004-08).
As per ATP, Federer earned 1,251 tour-level wins during his illustrious career, good for the second-most victories on record behind only Jimmy Connors' 1,274. The Swiss also claimed 103 tour-level trophies, only trailing Connors' 109.
The Basel native claimed a record six titles, 59 wins and 18 qualifications at the Nitto ATP Finals. He also excelled at the ATP Masters 1000 events, where he won 28 titles.
Federer is also the winner of a record 40 ATP Tour Awards: ATP Tour No. 1 (2004-07, 2009), Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of Year (2006, 2013), Comeback Player of the Year (2017), Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship (2004-09, 2011-17) and Fans' Favourite (2003-21). He is also the most-decorated athlete in the history of the Laureus World Sports Awards, winning Sportsman of the Year five times (2005-08, 2018) and Comeback of the Year in 2018.
The Swiss climbed to the top of the sport for the first time aged 22, reaching World No. 1 on February 2, 2004. From there, he enjoyed a peerless reign. From 2004-06, he tallied an astonishing 247-15 record, good for a winning percentage of more than 94 percent.
During that stretch, he lifted 34 tour-level trophies. From 2003-05, Federer won 24 straight matches against Top 10 opponents. Nadal and Djokovic then joined Federer at the top of the sport, creating the 'Big Three', an unprecedented era in tennis.
In recent years, Federer showed great resilience and determination. After undergoing knee surgery in 2016, he returned in 2017 to play some of the best tennis of his career. As the 17th seed at the 2017 Australian Open, he won his 18th Grand Slam title and his first since Wimbledon in 2012.
Federer became the oldest World No 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings on 19 February 2018 at age 36. He would then win a record eighth Wimbledon title later that year and then a sixth Australian Open trophy in 2018.
The tennis great, who made his professional debut aged 16 in 1998, has struggled with a knee problem for the past three years that has restricted him to only three of the 11 Grand Slams staged since the start of 2020. He has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last summer.
"I have worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body's capacity and limit. I am 41 years old and have played more than 1500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me generously more than I ever would have dreamt and I must recognise when I have to end my competitive career. I will play more tennis, of course, but not in Grand Slams and in tour. It's a bitter-sweet decision," he added.
(With inputs from IANS)