Roger Federer plays in his last professional tournament this week. (Picture: Brila FM)

In an announcement that has sparked a level of shock around the sporting world, 20-time Grand Slam champion, Roger Federer will retire from professional tennis this week. It comes after a significant injury toll that kept the Swiss superman on the sidelines for the majority of the past few years.

Federer revealed the news on social media on Thursday night, releasing an audio statement and explaining, “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 said.

Numerous setbacks with injury has been the backbone to Roger’s retirement. His last match in a Grand Slam was in Wimbledon of 2021, before reinjuring his troublesome knee. It was then unknown whether or not he would make another comeback.

“The past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Federer said.

“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 1500 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.”

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From being a young ball boy in Basel dreaming to make it on the big stage, Roger Federer progressed to be an icon of tennis and arguably the most likeable player the game has ever seen. Always so modest and well-driven, he had dominated the sport and almost seemed to be untouchable.

In his remarkable and illustrious career, Federer won 20 Grand Slam championships, his first being the 2003 Wimbledon at the age of 21.

He would go on to defeat Australia’s Mark Philippoussis in straight sets and everyone knew that a star was born, as he would then embark on a journey that many admired and envied.

During his career, he would become the oldest player to reach the number one seed of the ATP Rankings at 36-years-old.

Often referred to as the ‘G.O.A.T of tennis’, Federer was always so durable, and aged like a fine wine. He only got better as he got older until injury and multiple surgeries struck in the final years of his competitive career.

Federer fittingly won his 20th and final title at the 2018 Australian Open, defeating Croatia’s Marin Čilić in five sets. Although it went down to the wire, you could sense that Federer’s record-breaking championship was on the horizon and that he was going to seize the moment.

Apart from his outstanding Grand Slam career, he also had a remarkable 82% win record in singles competition on the ATP tour.

Federer’s rise in tennis would then be followed by the emergence of fellow champions, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, as all three would create an era of dominance and glory. Although bitter enemies on the court, they would become lifelong friends in a famous trio that will be difficult to top.

While acknowledging the decision to professionally retire was “bittersweet”, Federer said it was a time of celebration and to look back at the wonderful chapter he wrote in tennis.

“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” he said.

“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 I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”

To leave a finishing touch to an emotional statement, Federer said that he loves the game of tennis and will, “never leave it”.

In the Laver Cup, Federer will represent Team Europe in a stacked line-up consisting of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andy Murray and 2022 US Open finalist, Casper Ruud.

They will take on Team World, consisting of Australia’s Alex de Minaur, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman and Jack Sock.

The event in London will run from September 24-26, and Federer’s opponent is unknown at this stage.

It is truly appropriate that Federer will be alongside his closest friends in his farewell tour, concluding the ride of a lifetime for the Fed Express.

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