Roger Federer announced that he will play his last professional tennis tournament next week at the Laver Cup. The Swiss tennis legend wrote a farewell letter published via social media on Thursday. This comes after a multitude of injuries and surgeries in recent years.
In the statement, Federer thanked everyone from loved ones, family members, teammates, competitors, sponsors and fans.
“The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure,” he said. “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.”
At 41-years-old, Federer has played in over 1500 matches and has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles over the span of 24 years. Known for his effortless playing style and his signature inside-out forehand, Federer is widely regarded as one of the greatest men’s tennis players of all time.
While Federer is leaving the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour (ATP), he will not be leaving the game of tennis entirely. The Swiss star plans to continue playing the sport he loves, just no longer competitively. Nevertheless, his influence on the tennis community will remain.
Federer’s game will be missed by many, especially tennis players at USC. Former men’s tennis team member Sean Holt can relate to the reasons for Federer’s retirement. Faced with a hip injury that required surgery to continue competing, Holt left the tennis team this year.
Holt reflected on the career of one of the sport’s most decorated players.
“I think he’s probably one of the most respected—if not the most respected—men’s tennis player of all time,” Holt said. “Everybody kind of looked up to him.”
For Wojtek Marek, a sophomore on the USC men’s tennis team, Federer’s departure hits even closer to home.
“I never wanted this moment to happen; I never wanted Roger to retire from tennis,” Marek said. “It’s sad for the sport and for tennis fans around the world. He was definitely someone I looked up to.”
Federer is one of three aging players — along with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — who have dominated men’s tennis for the past two decades. “The Big Three” will unite one last time at the Laver Cup in Boston next week.
On the heels of tennis star Serena Williams’ retirement, Federer and Williams are a part of a wave of household names in tennis, leaving to make way for newcomers to rise.
Along with the retirement of Williams, the departure of one of The Big Three marks a profound shift for fans.
“It’s a big change for the sport,” Marek said.