Serena Williams and Roger Federer in the 2019 Hopman Cup, Australia
Serena Williams and Roger Federer in the 2019 Hopman Cup, Australia | (Photo by TONY ASHBY/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis | Roger Federer and Serena Williams’ retirements signal end of era for tennis

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Roger Federer announces Laver Cup will be his last ATP event of his career
LONDON, ENGLAND – Next week’s Laver Cup at the O2 Arena will be Roger Federer’s last ATP event of his career as his and Serena Williams’ retirements signal the end of an era for Tennis.

 

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An end of an era for tennis has arrived as two legends of the sport who have graced our screens over the last two decades have both retired in the space of a fortnight. Firstly it was Serena Williams’ evolution away from tennis as she played what seems to be her last match at the US Open against Ajla Tomljanovic.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion is now focusing on personal projects and extending her family as her illustrious career comes to an end. Williams’ legacy will be as one of the most iconic players of any generation as well as the greatest female athlete to ever compete in sport. Williams’ absence on the tour will leave a massive gap and signals the ending of an era with the likes of Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Ons Jabeur and Naomi Osaka now looking to lead the WTA into the next generation.

Now two weeks after Williams’ retirement, Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis as next week’s Laver Cup will see him team up with his nearest rivals in the form of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at the O2 Arena. The event will be Federer’s last ATP event of his career and signals the end of an era for fans of the ATP tour.

Federer’s career spanned multiple decades and it seemed as he would never retire as he aimed to make one last push for history. However with Djokovic and Nadal seemingly battling for Grand Slam supremacy, Federer has now decided to retire with the ending of his competitive career being less cryptic than Williams’ one.

 

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In the letter posted on Twitter Federer admitted it was a bitter-sweet moment but it was time to celebrate what he had achieved in his career:

“To my tennis family and beyond. 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,” Federer began his open letter on social media.

“Today, I want to share some news 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. The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.

“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 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.”

 

Federer is a player that made many people fall in love with tennis and that’s not to say his 20 Grand Slam titles, 103 career titles and 310 combined weeks at world number one weren’t impressive. However it was the way the 41 year-old played the game that caught people’s attention and impressed his fans more. The Swiss maestro will go down as an icon of the sport having been a pioneer in effortless shot-making and being the reason why the ATP witnessed it’s most competitive era of all-time.

Both Federer and Williams are nailed-on for the Tennis Hall of Fame at some point in the next few years and have been true icons on respective tours. These retirements signal the end of a glorious era for both the ATP and WTA, now it’s time for the future to step up and write their own stories as well as creating their own legacy to build on.

 

 

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