Serena Williams has paid tribute to fellow tennis great Roger Federer by welcoming him to the ‘retirement club’.
Federer announced on Thursday that he would retire from the sport at the age of 41, with the final tournament of his illustrious career will be the Laver Cup in London, to be held at the O2 Arena next weekend.
Williams also ended a stellar career this month as she made her final singles match at the US Open, where she was knocked out in the third round by Australian Alja Tomljanovic.
As tennis’ golden age draws to a close with the retirement of two of the sport’s biggest stars, both men and women, Williams paid tribute to fellow GOAT after his announcement.
Taking to Instagram, the 23-time Grand Slam winner applauded Federer, saying he had inspired her and “countless” others.
She wrote: “I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently ended this game – perfectly done, as did your career.”
Serena Williams paid tribute to Roger Federer by welcoming him to the ‘retirement club’
The American took to Instagram to applaud her fellow tennis legend after her announcement
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has announced his retirement from competitive tennis at 41
“I’ve always admired and admired you. Our journeys have always been so similar, so similar.
“You have inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget.
“I congratulate you and look forward to all you do in the future. Welcome to the pensioners club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer.’
Williams continued his tribute by also posting on his Instagram story, wishing the Swiss maestro the best.
In her post, Williams claimed the Swiss maestro had inspired her and “countless” others.
‘@rogerfederer Thank you for all you have contributed and beyond. I will miss your face on tour. Good luck in your next chapter. Retired just got the GOAT.
Federer’s last appearance was at Wimbledon last year, where he reached the quarter-finals. His last Grand Slam triumph came at the 2018 Australian Open, when, at 36, he became the second oldest man to win a major singles title in the Open era.
He won 103 singles titles on the ATP tour and was world number one for 237 consecutive weeks between February 2004 and August 2008, which remains a record.
Federer’s decision follows a turbulent period for the Swiss star, who underwent three knee surgeries in a desperate bid to regain his former glories.
Injuries have limited his tour appearances and he has only played three of the 11 Grand Slams held since the start of 2020.
Federer is expected to take part in exhibition matches, but the Laver Cup, where he will represent the European team, will be his last competition on the ATP Tour.
Singles Titles: 103
Grand Slam titles: 20
Highest rank: 1 (for a total of 310 weeks)
Davis Cups: 1 (2004)
Hopman Cups: 3 (2001, 2018, 2019)
Olympic medals: 2 (doubles gold 2008, singles silver 2012)
“To my tennis family and beyond, of all the gifts 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 especially the fans who bring the sport to life,” Federer said.
‘Today I want to share some news with you all. 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 get back to full competitive form. But I also know the capacity and the limits of my body, and the message it has given me lately has been clear.
‘I’m 41 years old. I’ve played over 1,500 games in 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever dreamed of, and now I have to recognize when it’s time to end my competitive career.
“The Laver Cup in London next week will be my last ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but not in Grand Slams or on the tour.
“It’s a bittersweet decision as 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 luckiest people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level I never imagined, for far longer than I ever thought possible.
The Swiss star will bid farewell to sport when he plays in the Laver Cup next week
Federer thanked his wife, Mirka, his coaches, his fans and everyone involved in his brilliant career.
He also paid tribute to fellow competitors, such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – who lead the all-time Grand Slam rankings with 22 and 21, respectively.
Nadal was one of many in the tennis community to hail Federer as he said the news of his retirement was “a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world”.
The retirements of Federer and Williams represent the start of tennis’ transition to the next generation of stars with the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, being one by two players at the start of their careers – Iga Swiatek, who won his third career major and 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who won his first.
TRIBUTE TO ROGER FEDERER FROM THE WORLD OF TENNIS
Billie Jean King: ‘Roger Federer is the champion of a champion. He has the most complete game of his generation and has captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with incredible speed on the court and a powerful tennis spirit. He had a historic career with memories that will live on and on.
‘Congratulations @rogerfederer. We wish you the best as you continue your journey.
Judy Murray: ‘The end of a magnificent era’.
ATP tour: ‘You have changed the game’.
Milos Raonic: ‘Roger, thank you for doing more for tennis than anyone else. Thanks to you, competitors and fans around the world can experience and enjoy it all over the world.
“Congratulations on your accomplishments and the people you continue to influence in and outside of tennis.”
Peter Kvitov: ‘Roger – you have always been a huge inspiration to me. Your elegance, your grace, your beautiful game. I have always held you in high regard and I want to congratulate you on an incredible career. Tennis won’t be the same without you! Thanks’.
Wimbledon: ‘Roger, where to start? It has been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word.
“We will miss the sight of you gracing our courtyards so much, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and the joy you have given so many people.”
Carlos Alcaraz: Roger…(with a broken heart emoji)
‘Roger was one of my idols and an inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I always want to play with you! I wish you all the happiness in the world for the future!
U.S. Open: Thank you Roger.
Juan Martin del Potro: ‘I LOVE YOU, Roger. Thank you for all you have done in tennis and with me. The world of tennis will never be the same without you.’
Roland Garros: A source of inspiration on and off the pitch. Thanks Roger.
Rod Laver: Thank you for everything Roger. See you soon. Rocket.
Genie Bouchard: Roger (with three crying emojis).
Martina Navratilova: ‘What a heartfelt message, full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. That’s exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you for all the magic!!! Xoxoxo’.
Jessica Pegula: Heartbreaking just listening to this. We love you Roger.
Andy Roddick: Well done Roger. Thank you for the memories shared my friend. It has been an honor to share time/experiences on the most hallowed grounds of our sport. Don’t be a stranger….
Denis Shapovalov: A model for me and so many others!! Thanks for everything Roger. It was a privilege to share the land with you!!.
#Serena #Williams #welcomes #Roger #Federer #retirement #club #pays #tribute #GOAT #tennis