20-time Grand Slam champion is retiring from professional tennis at age 41 after a series of knee operations, closing a career in which he won 20 Grand Slam titles, finished five seasons ranked No. 1 and helped create a golden era of men’s tennis with rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Federer said Thursday in a post on his social media accounts. “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 recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.”
Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles rank third all time among men’s players behind only contemporaries Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21).
Federer said he intends to keep playing tennis, “but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.” He had not played a competitive match since reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2021 and announced in mid-August that he had undergone another knee surgery.
But he had appeared at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Centre Court at the All England Club in July and said he hoped to come back to play there “one more time.” He also had said he would return to tournament action at the Swiss Indoors in October.
“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” Federer 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 that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”
Nadal expressed a similar sentiment, tweeting, “I wish this day would have never come,” but also expressing gratitude for the opportunity to “share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”