The news that Roger Federer announced he will retire resonated loud and clear around the tennis world on Thursday.
The Swiss superstar, who was crowned Davis Cup champion in 2014, posted an audio message on his Twitter feed in which he acknowledged his “challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries over the past three years”.
“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," Federer said.
“I am 41 years old. I’ve 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."
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
Aside from his numerous individual achievements across the sport, Federer delivered a monumental triumph for his nation when he guided Switzerland to its first Davis Cup title in front of a world record crowd of 27,448 at Lille’s Stade Pierre Mauroy in 2014.
In beating Richard Gasquet in the decisive fourth match of the final, he became the most successful Swiss player in Davis Cup history.
Federer played Davis Cup for 15 years in total, competing in 27 ties and ending his career with the Swiss record for both total match-wins (52) and singles wins (40).
Federer's impact on the sport extends far beyond his numerous titles, records and achievements though.
He is credited for significantly growing interest in tennis across the globe through his elegant and graceful court craft, and respectful personality, bringing millions of new fans to the sport.
He arguably elevated rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to greater heights through their numerous gripping duels - creating a standard of play at the top of the game that has, and will continue to have, a significant impact in inspiring the next generation.
Some of those new faces as well as some of the players who competed alongside him are playing in the Davis Cup Finals across Europe this week.
Here’s what some of them had to say:
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
“He has done everything in our sport you could possibly dream of. Roger and I are the same age, and I knew him extremely well as we grew up together in juniors.
“He was the greatest of that time and our era – obviously there have been a couple of other guys who have really put their hand up – but just his win-loss record in the mid-2000s, he was pretty much unplayable, with only Rafa [Nadal] able to beat him on the clay.
“Most of all though he has been a great ambassador for our sport, and I have always said that you don’t want to push these guys out of the game. You want to hold on to them because they are greats and have done so many great things.
Most of all though he has been a great ambassador for our sport
Richard Gasquet (FRA)
“I played him already in 2005. It’s a big shock, it’s not easy for everybody. I know it will be wonderful at the Laver Cup. A tough loss for tennis, it will be different after that. It’s still tennis, but it won’t be the same without Federer.
“His technique, his charisma – it was all crazy. There is just one Roger Federer.”
Guillermo Coria (ARG)
“I am personally proud to have been on the tour with him. It is impressive how he evolved as a player and as a person. He always had a way of being and a quality of person that I greatly admired.”
Taylor Fritz (USA)
“There’s not really anything I can say that will describe what he means to tennis. He's everything, you know?
“You have two of the best players of all time in men's and women's [tennis] retiring, basically right at the same time. It's crazy.”
It’s still tennis, but it won’t be the same without Federer
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)
“It was really a pleasure to get to know him. I spent the whole week with him at his home in Switzerland. I'm really thankful for that experience that I got to know him, just to see how he lives day to day. I'm extremely sad. I think we're all going to miss him.”
Alex de Minaur (AUS)
“He’s an icon of our sport and one of the people I looked up to. I’m sure everyone on the planet looks up to Roger. He is a flat-out genius on the court and if you’re growing up and don’t want to be like him then you don’t have much idea about tennis.”
Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)
“I saw Roger coming on Tour when he was a junior, I played him on big stages, and it is going to be a big loss for the game. He brought the game of tennis to a new level, and I thank him for that. It is a big loss to our sport.”
He brought the game of tennis to a new level, and I thank him for that
Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
“Roger became kind of my idol because of one-handed backhand.
“I've been in that transition period where I watched him play and growing up, then being able to play against him, which is incredible experience, especially playing him on Centre Court Wimbledon. It's like playing in his backyard. It doesn't get better than that in tennis.
“From our view, he changed the tennis, and he was the first to come and change tennis the way we know it. I mean, what he started doing, then later Novak and Rafa, it's just that we're in that, like, moment of end of an era soon. And it's magnificent for us to be part of that. One day when you tell your grandkids you played in the same era as Roger, Rafa, Novak, and Andy, it's something that lives forever.”
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
“He is a great champion. I believe he is the one that has brought a lot of people from other sports to tennis. He is the one who made tennis so popular in the last 10, 15 years.
“Obviously Rafa and Novak, they’ve won more Grand Slams than Roger now, but he was the first one. He was the one that made tennis so popular.”
David Ferrer (ESP)
“He has defined an era. He has been key to the growth of tennis and one of the most influential players, if not the most, in improving the sport alongside Rafa. Everyone loves him, he has given a lot of joy, not because of his perfect tennis game but because of the values he has espoused throughout his career.
“I would define him with three words: elegance, perfection and charisma.”
I believe he is the one that has brought a lot of people from other sports to tennis
Tommy Paul (USA)
“He is an icon. He is like the most-liked tennis player of all time. Really nice guy. Sad to see him go. Kind of wanted to play him before he left. Definitely wanted to get a W over him at some point. That would have been nice to have on the résumé.”
Albert Costa (ESP)
“One of the greatest retires. We will miss him. I feel enormously proud to be able to say I played against him, I will tell my grandchildren that's one of my biggest achievements.”