The tennis world recently lost arguably the greatest women's player in history to retirement in Serena Williams (although she already is hinting at a return), and now the men's side has lost maybe its best-ever player with the news that Roger Federer will retire after next week's Laver Cup competition between Team Europe and Team World in London.
That Federer is walking away is not a huge surprise. He hasn't played in an official tournament since undergoing a third knee surgery in an 18-month span after a quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon in 2021. There was some talk he was hoping to at least play in next month's Swiss Indoors in his native Switzerland and perhaps next year's Wimbledon, but that troublesome knee has proven too much for the 41-year-old.
"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 capabilities 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," Federer said on social media. "Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt and now I must recognize when it's 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."
For a while, Federer held the all-time record for men with 20 Grand Slam titles, last winning the 2018 Australian Open, but he has since fallen behind rivals Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). Nadal was 24-16 in his career vs. Federer and Djokovic 27-23, but they are also much younger. Federer holds the record with eight Wimbledon titles, but Djokovic is an early +120 favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to win No. 8 next year.
Federer was No. 1 in the world ATP for 310 weeks, the second-longest total reign in history behind Djokovic. Federer held the top spot for a record 237 consecutive weeks from Feb. 2, 2004 until Aug. 18, 2008. He earned 1,251 ATP Tour wins, second-most behind Jimmy Connors' 1,274.
As for the Laver Cup, it will be held Sept. 23-25 at O2 Arena in London. Each team is comprised of six players. The captain of Europe is Bjorn Borg, and the captain of Team World is John McEnroe.
Both singles and doubles are best of three sets. Each player competes in at least one singles match during the first two days but no player can play singles more than twice overall. At least four of the six players must play doubles. Each match win is worth one point Friday, two points Saturday, and three points Sunday and the winning team must reach 13 points. It's somewhat like golf's Ryder Cup.
Team Europe is stacked this year with Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray and certainly will be the betting favorites. Team World has Americans Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock as well as Félix Auger-Aliassime (Canada), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) and Alex de Minaur (Australia).
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