Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis after an incredible career hailing 15000 matches over 24 years.

The Swiss tennis player shared the breaking news in a lengthy post on all his social medias starting with a simple: “To my tennis family and beyond”.

The 41-year-old explained that it was time to retire after listening to his body following multiple knee surgeries.

He first started off by acknowledging what the game has given him, friends, competitors, and fans who’ve been by his side throughout his incredible journey before he went on to share the devastating news.

“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,” he wrote.

“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 15000 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.”

Federer announced that the Laver Cup will be his final ATP event but teased that he won’t be completely disappearing from the game.

“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 then went on to thank his wife Mirka and his four children, who stood by his side and endured his fantastic tennis career.

“I would like to especially thank my amazing wife Mirka, who has lived through every minute with me. She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches even while over 8-months pregnant, and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years.

“I also want to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always eager to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way. Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.”

He also addressed his parents and sister “without whom nothing would be possible”.

Federer then listed everyone who stood by him, from former coaches, to players, to sponsors, partners, and the “unbelievable fans” over the last 24 years.

“I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries,” he wrote.

“I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.

“Through my travels, I have met many wonderful people who will remain friends for life, who consistently took time of their busy schedules to come watch me play and cheer me on around the globe. Thank you.”

Federer then ended the lengthy post with a little glimpse into how he decided he wanted to play tennis back when he was a ball boy.

“When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder,” he wrote.

“They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself.

“Some success brought me confidence and I was only my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.

“So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true.

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

Following the shock announcement, Federer’s fellow tennis players wished the best for the Swiss tennis player.

Rafael Nadal – “I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports people around the world. I said it to you when we spoke and now it’s here. It’s been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”

Billie Jean King – “Roger Federer is a champion’s champion. He has the most complete game of his generation & captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with an amazing quickness on the court & a powerful tennis mind. He has had a historic career w/memories that will live on and on.”

Rod Laver – “Thank you for everything Roger. See you soon. Rocket.”

Martina Navratilova – “What a heartfelt message, full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. Which is exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you, for all the magic!!!”

Carlos Alcaraz – “Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! Wish you all the luck in the world for what comes next!”

Andy Roddick – “Cheers Roger. Thanks for the shared memories my friend. It was an honour to share time/experiences on the most hallowed grounds in our sport. Don’t be a stranger.”

Petra Kvitova – “Roger – you have always been such a huge inspiration to me. Your elegance, your grace, your beautiful game. I have always held you in the highest regard and want to congratulate you for an amazing career. Tennis won’t be the same without you!”

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.