Serena Williams has paid tribute to fellow tennis great Roger Federer as she welcomes him to the ‘retiring club’.
Federer announced on Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the age of 41, with the final tournament of his illustrious career is the Laver Cup in London, scheduled to be held at the O2 Arena next weekend.
Williams also brought the curtain down on a glittering career this month as she played her final singles match at the US Open, where she was knocked out in the third round by Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic.
As a golden era of tennis comes to an end with two of the sport’s biggest stars in the men’s and women’s competition retiring, Williams paid tribute to her fellow GOAT following his announcement.
Taking to Instagram, the 23-time Grand Slam winner applauded Federer, claiming he had inspired her and “countless” others.
She wrote: “I wanted to find the perfect way to say this as you have so eloquently laid this game to rest – perfectly, as has your career.
Serena Williams pays tribute to Roger Federer as she welcomes him to ‘retirement club’
The American took to Instagram to applaud her fellow tennis legend after his announcement
20-time Grand Slam winner announces retirement from competitive tennis aged 41
“I’ve always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths have always been so alike, so alike.
“You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget.
“I applaud you and look forward to all you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being @rogerfederer.’
Williams continued her tribute as she also took to her 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 everything you’ve contributed and more. I will miss your face on tour. Good luck in your next chapter. The pension just got the GOAT.
Federer’s last appearance was at last year’s Wimbledon, where he reached the quarterfinals. His last Grand Slam triumph was at the 2018 Australian Open when, aged 36, he became the second-oldest man to win a major singles title in the Open era.
He won 103 ATP Tour singles titles 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 has undergone three knee operations in a desperate bid to return to his former glory.
Injuries have limited his tour appearances and he has played in just three of the 11 Grand Slams held since the start of 2020.
Federer is set to play in exhibition matches, but the Laver Cup, where he will represent Team Europe, will be his last event on the ATP Tour.
Unit 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 (gold double 2008, silver individual 2012)
“To my tennis family and beyond, of all the gifts that tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, have been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors and most of all the fans who give their lives to the sport,” Federer said.
“Today, I want to share some news with you all. As many of you know, the past three years have brought me challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries.
“I have been working hard to get back to full match fitness. But I also know my body’s capacity 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 been more generous to me than I could have ever dreamed of, and now I have to recognize when it is 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 the Grand Slams or on the tours.
“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. 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 the sport when he plays in next week’s Laver Cup
Federer thanked his wife, Mirka, his coaches, his fans and everyone involved in his stellar career.
He also paid tribute to fellow players like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – who lead the all-time Grand Slam standings with 22 and 21, respectively.
Nadal was one of many members of the tennis community to salute Federer as he said the news of his retirement was “a sad day for me personally and for sport around the world”.
The retirements of both Federer and Williams represent the beginning of tennis’s turn to the next generation of stars with the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, one for two early-career players – Iga Swiatek, who won his third career major, and 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won his first.
TRIBUTE TO ROGER FEDERER FROM THE WORLD OF TENNIS
Billie Jean King: “Roger Federer is a champion of champions. He has the most complete game of his generation and won the hearts of fans around the world with an amazing speed on the court and a strong tennis mind. He had a storied career with memories that will live on and on.
“Congratulations @rogerfederer. We wish you the best as your journey continues.”
Judy Murray: “The end of a wonderful era.”
ATP Tour: ‘You changed the game’.
Milos Raonic: “Roger, thank you for doing more for tennis than any single person. Thanks to you, competitors and fans around the world can experience and enjoy it around the world.
“Congratulations on your achievements and the people you continue to influence in and away from tennis.”
Petra Kvitova: “Roger – you have always been a huge inspiration to me. Your elegance, your grace, your beautiful game. I have always appreciated you and want to congratulate you on an amazing career. Tennis won’t be the same without you! Thanks’.
Wimbledon: “Roger, where do we start? It has been a privilege to follow your journey and watch you become a champion in every sense of the word.
“We will so miss the sight of you gracing our pitches, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”
Carlos Alcaraz: Roger… (with broken heart emoji)
“Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for all you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! I wish you all the luck in the world for what’s next!
US Open: Thanks, Roger.
Juan Martin del Potro: I LOVE YOU, Roger. Thank you for everything you have done in tennis and with myself. The world of tennis will never be the same without you.”
Roland Garros: An inspiration on and off the court. Thanks, Roger.
Rod Laver: Thanks for everything Roger. See you soon. Rocket.
Ginny Bouchard: Roger (with three crying emojis).
Martina Navratilova: “What a heartfelt message, full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. This is exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you for all the magic!!! Xoxoxo”.
Jessica Pegula: I tear up just hearing it. We love you Roger.
Andy Roddick: Cheers Roger. Thanks for the shared memories my friend. It was an honor to share time/experiences on the most hallowed grounds in our sport. Don’t be a stranger….
Denis Shapovalov: A role model for me and so many others!! Thanks for everything Roger. It was a privilege to share the court with you!!.