Tennis icon Roger Federer has been denied his ‘ultimate dream’ after reluctantly outlining his plan to retire from the sport after next week’s Laver Cup in London. The 41-year-old Swiss legend, who won 20 Grand Slams during a record-breaking career that has spanned 24 years, issued a heartfelt statement confirming that he’d finally decided to walk away from the sport following a long battle with injuries.
Federer’s right knee, which has required multiple operations, has halted his involvement on the court and his painful rehabilitation has left him with no other options but to hang up his racket.
Speaking to Swiss newspaper Le Matin back in November 2021, Federer was optimistic that his time at the top of the sport had not yet come to an end.
There was no denying that retirement was just around the corner but the now 41-year-old superstar was adamant he wanted to feature in at least one more Grand Slam.
It was a goal he set himself and one he was determined to achieve heading into 2022 – just a matter of months after featuring at Wimbledon, which would eventually prove to be his last outing at a major.
“My ambition is to see what I’m capable of one last time. I also wish I could say goodbye in my own way and on a tennis court. That’s why I give my all in my rehabilitation,” a defiant Federer declared.
“Then let’s be clear, my life is not going to collapse if I don’t play a Grand Slam final again. But it would be the ultimate dream to go back.
“I know it will be incredibly difficult, but I do believe in these kinds of miracles. I’ve experienced them myself,” Federer stated.
“I would like to find out what I can achieve on a tennis court again. It would have been easy to say, ‘let’s stop here’. But they (the fans) deserve better than what they’ve seen from me throughout the past grass court season.”
Federer’s lack of fitness saw him drop out of the top 50 for the first time since 2000 in June 2022.
Just one month later in July, Federer dropped out of the ATP singles ranking altogether for the first time in 25 years following his debut in September 1997.
He would later announce that he was targeting a return at the Laver Cup in London before he planned to make an appearance at the Swiss Indoors in October next month.
Addressing his fans and the sporting world, Federer clarified his decision to retire in a personal video message that read: “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 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 drama, and now I must recognise when it is 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.”
Federer may now be walking away from the professional game but he departs the sport as one of the game’s greats having already cemented an iconic legacy.
He won a record eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Opens, one French Open and five US Opens.
READ ROGER FEDERER’s RETIREMENT STATEMENT IN FULL