Tennis legend Roger Federer has announced he will retire from the sport at the age of 41.
Federer has confirmed the last tournament of his illustrious career will be the Laver Cup in London, United Kingdom.
It is scheduled to be held at the 02 next weekend.
The Swiss maestro – who won a total of 20 Grand Slams, the third highest men’s tally of all time – retires as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Federer’s last appearance came at last year’s Wimbledon, where he reached the quarter-finals.
His final Grand Slam triumph was at the 2018 Australian Open, when, aged 36, he became the second-oldest man to win a major singles title in the Open era.
He claimed 103 singles titles on the ATP tour and was world number one for 237 consecutive weeks between February 2004 and August 2008, which remains a record.
Federer’s decision follows a turbulent period for the Swiss star, who has undergone three knee surgeries in a desperate attempt to return to his former glories.
His injuries have limited his appearances on tour and he has played in just three of the 11 Grand Slams staged since the start of 2020.
Federer is set to feature in exhibition matches but the Laver Cup, where he will represent Team Europe, will be his last competition on the ATP tour.
“To my tennis family and beyond, of all the gifts that tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, has been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors, and most of all the fans who give the sport its life,” Federer said.
“Today, I want to share some news with all of you. 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 capacity and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear.
“I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1,500 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.
“The Laver Cup in London next week 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.
“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me. 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.”
Federer was always popular and was a fan-favourite at every tournament he played, most notably at Wimbledon.
Federer thanked his wife, Mirka, his coaches, his fans and everyone who has been involved in his stellar career.
He also paid tribute to his fellow competitors such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who lead the all-time Grand Slam standings with 22 and 21 respectively.
“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget,” Federer added in a video statement.
“We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful.
“We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels. Above all I must offer a special thank you to my unbelievable fans.
“You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me. The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.
“The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure. 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.
“I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.”
Federer ended his statement with a message to his fans and the sport: “To the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”
The Swiss was a household name on and off the court.
He is believed to have raked in more than £812 million through tournament prize money and endorsement deals with companies, including Nike and Rolex.
He made his debut on the circuit age 16 in 1998 and clinched his maiden Grand Slam title on the hallowed courts of the All-England Club in 2003.
That success was the first of eight triumphs at Wimbledon, the venue where he was perhaps most revered.
Federer also won six Australian Open titles and five US Open crows, while his solitary French Open triumph came in 2009.
He was part of a golden era for the tennis, regularly competing for the top honours alongside Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray.
The quartet produced some of the greatest matches in the history of the sport, including the famous Wimbledon final with Nadal in 2008.
Federer’s final top-level appearance will come at the Laver Cup, due to run from September 23 to 25, where he will join Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Norway’s Casper Ruud on the European team that will take on the rest of the world.
Singles titles: 103
Grand Slam titles: 20
Highest ranking: 1 (for a total of 310 weeks)
Davis Cups: 1 (2004)
Hopman Cups: 3 (2001, 2018, 2019)
Olympic medals: 2 (doubles gold 2008, singles silver 2012).