Roger Federer to Retire: 'My Body's Message to Me' Is 'Clear'

Roger Federer has announced that he plans to retire from top-level tennis after the Laver Cup in London later this month.

The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion said he is listening to his body and that his health is the reason he is saying goodbye to the sport.

"My body's message to me lately has been clear," Federer said in a statement posted to social media. "I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career."

The Swiss tennis great, 41, added: "To the game of tennis, I love you and will never leave you."

Roger Federer
Roger Federer of Switzerland acknowledges spectators at the Centre Court Centenary Celebration on day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2022 in London. This week, Federer announced he will retire from competitive tennis in September. Karwai Tang/Getty/WireImage

Federer made his professional debut at the age of 16 in 1998 and his success led him to become a part of the so-called Big Three along with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt," Federer said before announcing his retirement.

Federer will play in next week's Laver Cup in London before officially retiring from the sport.

Federer spoke of what tennis has meant to him through his career in his letter, writing: "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. Today, I want to share some news with all of you."

The athlete also discussed the challenges he has faced with his various injuries and medical procedures.

"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," he said.

He noted that he is 41 years old and has played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years.

"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," he said.

Federer called his decision "bittersweet," but said he has so much to celebrate.

"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," he wrote.

"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."

Day Nine: The Championships - Wimbledon 2021
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a backhand against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the quarter finals of the gentlemen's singles during Day Nine of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021. Federer announced Tuesday that a knee injury has prompted his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics. TPN/Getty Images

Federer's decision to step away from tennis comes as fellow great Serena Williams announced her retirement following her defeat in the third round of the U.S. Open.

However, the athlete did say she might consider pulling a Tom Brady and potentially return to the sport.