20-time Grand Slam winner Federer calls time on stellar career

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There was widespread heartbreak after he served up a social media post yesterday afternoon announcing his last game will be at next month’s Laver Cup in London’s O2.

The Swiss ace, 41, has not hit a ball competitively since Wimbledon 2021, after which he endured a third knee operation. He said: “My body’s ­message to me lately has been clear.”

“I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.”

He added: “To the game of tennis, I love you and will never leave you.”

Federer has struggled with a knee problem for the past three years that has restricted him to only three of the 11 Grand Slam tournaments since the start of 2020.

He has not played a competitive match since losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last summer.

The star then announced he needed more knee surgery ­having had two operations in 2020.

Federer, regarded by many as the greatest ever mens tennis player, has played in a golden era for the men’s game.

Only Spain’s Rafael Nadal, with 22 majors, and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, with 21, have more men’s Grand Slam singles titles.

He added: “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 thanked his opponents from a golden era of the men’s game. He said: “I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches I will never forget.”

“We battled fairly, with passion and intensity. We pushed each other and together we took tennis to new levels.”

Wimbledon said: “We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”

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