‘I wish this day had never come’: the sports world reacts to Roger Federer’s retirement | CNN



The outpouring of praise and admiration in the wake of Roger Federer’s Retirement Announcement is a testament to the Swiss tennis star’s remarkable impact and legacy in the world of tennis, sports and beyond.

While Federer’s on-court performance ranks among the greats among the men – though he’s undoubtedly in the top three – will be up for debate, but there’s no question that he’s the most transcendent tennis player to ever pick up a racket.

No one else in the sport has received the worldwide admiration, approvals or become an icon like Federer.

Twenty-two-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, whose career-long rivalry with Federer produced some of the most memorable matches in the sport’s history, called it an “honor and privilege” to compete against him.

“Dear Roger, my friend and rival,” Nadal wrote. “I wish this day had never come… it’s a sad day for me personally and for athletes around the world. I told you when we spoke and now it’s here.

“It was a pleasure, but also an honor and a privilege to share all those years with you and to experience so many great moments on and off the pitch. We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still many things to do together, we know that.

“For now I really wish you all the luck with your wife, Mirka, your children, your family and enjoy what awaits you. I’ll see you in London at the Laver Cup.’

Twenty-three-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who recently announced her own retirement from tennis, welcomed Federer to the “retirement club.”

“I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, because you’ve calmed down this game so eloquently — perfectly done, just like your career,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I’ve always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You have inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget it.

“I applaud you and look forward to everything you do in the future. Welcome to the pension club. And thank you for being yourself.”

Federer’s success at Wimbledon, winning the All England Club title eight times, meant he became synonymous with the green grass of Center Court. He last lifted the trophy there in 2017, 13 years after his first Wimbledon win.

“Roger, where do we start?” the official page of the tournament wrote. “It was 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 now is thank you for the memories and joy you have given to so many.”

Seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady said in a press conference on Thursday: “Phenomenal, great player, you know, he’s just a great competitor and you know … he had a great run, he was great, always respectful to everyone and meant a lot.”

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Tennis Pioneer and Hall of Famer Billie Jean King wrote on Twitter: “Roger Federer is a champion. He has the most complete game of his generation and conquered the hearts of sports fans around the world with an astonishing speed on the court and a powerful tennis spirit. He has had a historic career with memories that will live on forever.

“Congratulations @rogerfederer. We wish you all the best during your trip.”

Current No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek added: “I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you are for our sport. It was a privilege to witness your career. I wish you all the best.”

Two-time NBA Champion and six-time All-Star Pau Gasol said: “Thank you for inspiring us and setting a good example for us all.”

In a statement posted to the official Olympic Twitter pageThomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said: “@RogerFederer is a gentleman on and off the pitch – and a true Olympic champion. Congratulations Roger on your excellent career, good luck for the future. I hope our paths will cross again.”

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