Federer retires: Serena Williams says 'welcome to the retirement club'

By Sports Desk September 15, 2022

Serena Williams has paid tribute to retiring 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, describing her admiration for him and welcoming him "to the retirement club".

The 41-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he would bring an end to his illustrious playing career after the Laver Cup later this month.

Federer's announcement comes only weeks after 23-time major winner Williams declared her intention to step away from tennis, culminating at the US Open earlier this month where she bowed out in the third round.

The Swiss icon will bow out with 20 major titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). Williams sits behind only Margaret Court (24) for women's singles major titles.

"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career," Williams wrote on Instagram.

"I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same.

"You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future.

"Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer."

Williams has deliberately avoided the use of the word retirement since declaring her intention to 'evolve' away from tennis, meaning the latter comment is of note.

The 40-year-old American has teased at a potential return to tennis, saying on Good Morning America this week that "Tom Brady started a really cool trend", referencing his decision to come out of retirement.

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    Djokovic and Nadal share the record for the most major tournaments won by a male player after the 35-year-old beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) at Melbourne Park.

    The Serbian superstar also returned to the top of the rankings by being crowned Australian Open champion for a record-extending 10th time.

    Djokovic and Nadal will head to the French Open in May eyeing major triumph number 23.

    Spaniard Nadal, who will be out for around eight weeks due to a hip injury he aggravated during a second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald in Melbourne, posted on Instagram: "Amazing achievement Nole @djokernole Many congrats to you and your team!

    "Well deserved. Enjoy Nole!"

    Swiss great Roger Federer, a winner of 20 major titles before retiring last year, also saluted Djokovic in an Instagram story on Sunday: "Incredible effort, again! Many congratulations." 

    The legendary Margaret Court leads the way with 24 major singles titles, while Serena Williams racked up 23 in her incredible career.

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    Kyrgios was also impressed by Djokovic emerging post-match in a jacket emblazoned with '22', a reminder of when Roger Federer had '15' on his top after winning Wimbledon in 2009 to take the outright lead in the men's grand slam race.

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    Looking at his sartorial choice, Kyrgios saluted Djokovic's audacity, writing: "The jacket with 22 on it is elite energy, haha I love it…. NEED MORE."

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