Roger Federer to retire from tennis after the Laver Cup next week

The legendary career of Roger Federer is coming to an end.

The Swiss tennis player announced on Thursday he will retire from the ATP Tour following the Laver Cup in London next week. He won 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles during his illustrious 24-year career, including a record eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Open titles and five US Open titles.

"This is a bittersweet decision," Federer said, "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.

As Federer noted in his retirement address, the 41-year-old has struggled with knee injuries over the past three years and advanced past the fourth round in a Grand Slam only twice during that span. He dropped out of the top-50 world rankings this past June for the first time since 2000 and dropped completely out of the ATP singles rankings for the first time since his 1997 debut this past July.

But in his prime, Federer was the best tennis player on the planet.

He ranked No. 1 in ATP for 237 consecutive weeks from Feb. 2, 2004, until Aug. 17, 2008 — the longest streak in history — and was the oldest player ranked No. 1 at the age of 36 on June 24, 2018.

Federer has won 82 percent of his 1,526 career singles matches and his 103 career titles rank second-most all-time in the Open Era. His 20 Grand Slam singles titles trail only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who own 21 and 22 titles, respectively.

"When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel," Federer said. "I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder. They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself. Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.

"So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true.

"Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you."

Roger Federer will retire from the ATP Tour after one final tournament next week. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Roger Federer will retire from the ATP Tour after one final tournament next week. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images) (Shi Tang via Getty Images)