The 20-time grand-slam champion has been struggling with a knee problem for the last three years and has decided now is the time to step away.
Federer’s grand-slam record has now been surpassed by both his great rival Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic but many people, especially the legions of fans he brought to the sport, will still consider him the greatest of all time.
Federer will play in next week’s Laver Cup in London, the Ryder Cup-style competition that was his brainchild, but will then leave the professional game.
Federer made the announcement via a letter posted on social media, which began: “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. 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.”
He continued: “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 has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last summer.
He subsequently announced he needed more surgery on his knee having previously undergone two operations in 2020 that kept him out for more than a year.
Federer had targeted a full return following the last operation but it became increasingly clear that his rehabilitation was not going as well as he had hoped.
Wimbledon tweeted: “Roger, Where do we begin? It’s been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word. We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”
Judy Murray tweeted: “The end of a magnificent era...”
Juan Martin del Potro tweeted: “I LOVE YOU, Roger. Thank you for everything you’ve done in tennis and with myself. Tennis world will never be the same without you.”