‘You inspired countless millions’ – Serena Williams welcomes Roger Federer to retirement club

The world of tennis went into a shock on Thursday evening (September 15) with Swiss maestro Roger Federer announcing his retirement from the game after this year’s Laver Cup scheduled later this month. Federer, a winner of 20 Grand Slam titles and a former world number one, is one of the most iconic players of all time and his retirement leaves a huge void in the tennis arena.

“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 capacities 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. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career,” tweeted Federer.

The tennis fraternity has, thus, lost the services of both Serena Williams — whose last appearance came in the recently-held US Open 2022 edition — and Federer. Over the years, Serena (winner of 23 Grand Slams) and Federer have formed a great equation on and off the court and the legendary player lavished huge praise on the Swiss player.

“I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career. I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer,” Serena wrote on Instagram.

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Soon after Federer’s retirement, Indian legend Mahesh Bhupathi also shared his reaction and spoke highly of the iconic player’s legacy. In an interaction with WION, the 48-year-old said, “Obviously being ultimate professional and a gentleman, Roger would say hello to literally everyone, regardless of ranking and status. Very very few of the past champions were ever like that. He was not only a fan-favourite but a player-favourite as well.”

Bhupathi added, “He is once-in-a-generation athlete. We have been very lucky to see him in action. He has played tennis like no one has ever before. Standing on the baseline and hitting half-volley winners year after year. People don’t understand how incredibly hard it is.”

Federer will be in action in this month’s Laver Cup — also featuring his closest rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The 41-year-old — a winner of 20 Grand Slam titles — has won 103 singles titles in an illustrious career spanning 24 years.

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