Two of the most celebrated sports icons announced their retirement within weeks of each other, marking the end of an era in professional tennis. Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has announced that he will retire after the Laver Cup in London next week. This announcement came just less than a month after women’s tennis icon Serena Williams announced her retirement in an article.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Roger Federer said in a video posted in his social media. “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.” Federer was plagued by knee problems that kept him out of action recently.
For the first time since 2000, the 41-year-old dropped out of the top 50 in world rankings earlier this summer and was completely out of the ATP singles rankings for the first time since his debut in 1997, owing to knee injuries. His last Grand Slam title came at the 2018 Australian Open, while his last competitive match was a quarter-final defeat against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at the 2021 Wimbledon.
During his prime, Federer surpassed Pete Sampras’ record with his 15th major championship in 2009, which included five U.S. Open titles, six Australian crowns and a single French Open. He held the No. 1 ranking for 237 consecutive weeks, from February 2, 2004 to August 17, 2008—the longest streak in history—and was still ranked No. 1 at age of 36 in June 2018, the oldest man to hold that ranking.
The Swiss icon bagged a total of 103 titles on tour–second to Jimmy Connors–one Olympic doubles gold medal for Switzerland and 20 Grand Slam singles titles trail only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who own 21 and 22 titles, respectively. “Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.” The Laver Cup, Federer’s final act as professional player, will begin on September 23.
Earlier, women tennis legend Williams also announced her “retirement” in an article. “I have never liked the word ‘retirement,‘’ Williams wrote in an article published by Vogue. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is ‘evolution.’ I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” Williams has 73 career singles titles and 23 career doubles titles.
In the same article, she said that she will bow out of the game after the U.S. Open, where she eventually fell in the third round by Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1. However, in an interview following the tour, she revealed that she might return to competitive tennis in the future, jokingly said that “Tom Brady started a really cool trend”.
Along with her sister, Venus, they paved the way for a new generation of female tennis players. The 41-year-old, who is fifth on the all-time women’s titles list, held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 319 weeks, with only Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova holding the higher feats. Her last major championship was at the 2017 Australian Open win, which she won while pregnant.
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