MSN: By Derek Saul, Forbes Staff – Roger Federer will retire following next week’s Laver Cup in London, the 41-year-old tennis star announced Thursday morning, officially ending a chapter in which tennis was dominated by the Big Three, and he was credited with bringing grace and artistry to a sport dominated by heavy-hitters.
Widely regarded as one of the sport’s best ever, Federer will retire with 20 Grand Slam titles, trailing only his younger “Big Three” rivals Rafael Nadal (36) and Novak Djokovic (35).
Federer called his retirement a “bittersweet decision,” explaining his “body’s capacities and limits and its message to me lately has been clear” as the Swiss national has struggled to stay on the court in recent years due to injuries.
The announcement was not a major shock since Federer has not competed since July 2021, when he lost in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
It comes just after his contemporary on the women’s tour, Serena Williams, 40, retired after a third-round loss at the US Open last month.
“Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt,” Federer said. “To the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”
$90.7 million. That’s how much Federer earned last year, thanks to $90 million in endorsements, making him the seventh highest-paid athlete in the world. He earned by far more off the court than any other athlete, blowing past the second most-endorsed athlete, LeBron James, who netted $80 million in endorsements last year. Federer earned $130.6 million in prize money on the court throughout his 24-year career, the third-most ever on the ATP Tour, though it was his lucrative endorsements that consistently placed him among the highest-paid athletes in the world throughout his career.
Federer spent more than 300 weeks as the world No. 1. Federer is considered the greatest player on grass, winning a record eight times at Wimbledon. He and the Big Three were so dominant that since 2003 they have won 63 of the past 77 Grand Slam titles. Federer passed his idol Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam record of 14 when he won Wimbledon in 2009, and last won a Grand Slam in 2018, when he won what seemed an unbreakable record 20th title by capturing the Australian Open. Since then, Djokovic (21) and Nadal (22) have edged past him.
Federer’s artistry was captured in a now famous essay ( “Roger Federer as Religious Experience”) in the New York Times by literary star David Foster Wallace, who wrote, in part: “The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws.
Good analogues here include Michael Jordan, who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces.”
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