Tennis legend Federer to retire from competitive play

STORY: Roger Federer – regarded by many as the greatest male player to ever swing a tennis racket - will retire after next week's Laver Cup in London.

The announcement from the Swiss tennis player -- who has 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt - comes less than two weeks after tennis star Serena Williams played what was likely her last competitive match.

A knee injury has kept Federer from playing a match since losing at last year's Wimbledon, although many still believed he could come back for one last golden farewell.

But Federer, in a Thursday Instagram post, said age has caught up to him:

“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 recognize when it is time to end my competitive career."

With his artistry and grace, Federer dominated men's tennis for years after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003.

He took the sport to new levels during a career spanning more than two decades.

“I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget. We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. I feel extremely grateful. We pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.”

Federer’s career includes 8 Wimbledon titles, five U.S. Open titles, six Australian crowns and a single French Open title.

He also holds the record for 237 consecutive weeks as world number one.

But, Federer has undergone three knee operations in the last two years.

Federer will return to the tour one last time… teaming up with long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal to play doubles, next week, in London.

He signed off his announcement to fans with a heartfelt message... to the game of tennis: “I love you and will never leave you."