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Roger Federer announces his retirement from competitive tennis

"I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years," Roger Federer said as he announced his retirement at age 41.
Kevork Djansezian
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"I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years," Roger Federer said as he announced his retirement at age 41.

Swiss tennis great Roger Federer has announced he's retiring from competition, saying that at age 41, his body is telling him the time has come. In recent years, Federer has contended with injuries and surgeries as well as a rising crop of new stars.

"I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years," Federer said in a video message released Thursday, after stating that his body's "message to me lately has been clear."

His final ATP event will come next week, at the Laver Cup in London.

Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, including eight at Wimbledon.

Over his career, Federer has won more than 100 titles total and amassed a 1,251-275 record, according the ATP, which adds that he never retired from a match, in singles or doubles.

Federer's prodigious skills kept him at the top of the sport with astounding consistency. At one point, he spent 237 consecutive weeks as the world No. 1 — an ATP record. In 2018, he became the oldest man to hold that ranking.

Earlier in his career, he notched 41 match wins in a row — a sequence that started the year after he won 24 tournament finals straight, from 2003-2005.

Federer, who began playing tennis at age 8, recalled his early exposure to pro tennis as a ball kid in his hometown of Basel, watching players "with a sense of wonder." It made him dream of his own future in the game, he said — and it drove him to work hard to achieve those dreams.

"The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure," Federer said, describing the highs and lows of playing his sport in more than 40 countries.

"Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.