‘The reason I pursued tennis’: Stefanos Tsitsipas pays tribute to retiring Roger Federer

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Roger Federer, 20-time grand slam champion, has announced he will retire from tennis after the Laver Cup in London this month.

The Swiss tennis icon announced his retirement on social media, releasing a four-page statement.

“I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1500 matches over 24 years,” he said.

“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.

“I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in grand slams or on the tour.”

Following on from a tweet this morning in which he wrote “We love Roger”, Stefanos Tsitsipas took to Instagram, congratulating and paying tribute to the tennis great.

“Your style, personality, talent, finesse and passion will be remembered in the game of tennis forever!” the World No. 6 wrote.

“I can’t thank you enough for being the reason I pursued tennis in the first place. The reason I play a one-handed backhand today. The reason I dreamt for the first time watching you lift that Wimbledon trophy in 2004.”

Federer is widely considered one of the greatest players to step onto the court, and one of a trio of stars alongside Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who have dominated men’s tennis for well over a decade.

The 41-year-old father to four said his love of tennis started as a ball kid in his 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,” he said.

“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.”

Since making his debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam at the 1999 French Open, Federer has appeared in 81 Grand Slams – the most by any men’s singles player in the Open Era alongside Spaniard Feliciano López.

In 2003 and at just 21 years of age, he defeated Mark Philippoussis in the Wimbledon final, winning his first-ever Grand Slam title. His success at the English major wouldn’t end there, going on to win Wimbledon a further seven times, the most by any male player in the Open Era.

Between 2004 and 2008, he won five successive US Open singles titles, by which time he had also claimed four Australian Open crowns, a feat unmatched by any player.

After completing a career Grand Slam by finally winning the French Open in 2009, having been beaten in three consecutive finals by Nadal, Federer continued to dominate with another Wimbledon title and the 2010 Australian Open.

By 2018, he had claimed a further two Australian Open titles and two Wimbledon victories, bringing his grand slam title tally to 20.

In his retirement announcement, he thanked his family, wife Mirka, team, as well as his fans.

“I must offer a special thank you to my unbelievable fans. You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me,” he said.

“The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy.

“I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.”


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