Tennis legend Roger Federer will retire from the sport after the Laver Cup in London next week.
The Swiss 41-year-old was ranked world number one for 310 weeks, including a record-setting 237 consecutive weeks.
He has finished as the year-end number one five times and won 20 grand slam titles, but hasn’t played since Wimbledon 2021 after undergoing three knee operations in 18 months.
He has won 103 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles titles, the second most of all time, including a record eight men’s singles Wimbledon titles, an Open Era record-tying five men’s singles US Open titles, and a record six year-end tour championships.
In a letter posted on social media, Federer said: “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 new with all of you. “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.”
Federer thanked his wife, Mirka, saying she had “lived through every minute” with him and had “endured” his “goofy side” for more than 20 years.
He also praised his four children saying: “Seeing my family cheering me from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.”
Federer thanked his parents, sister, his former coaches, his team, sponsors, competitors and fans.
The tennis ace continued: “When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel, 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.”
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are also due to play in Laver Cup at the O2 in London.