Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis, declaring next week's Laver Cup in London will be his farewell tournament.

The Swiss great, who has won 20 grand slams, becomes the first of the 'Big Three' on the men's tour to call it a day, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still active.

Federer said he was making a "bittersweet decision", having battled knee injuries in the hope of returning to the tour.

Now 41 years old, Federer wrote in a statement on social media on Thursday: "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 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."

The Swiss great, who won eight men's singles Wimbledon titles, said he would "miss everything the tour has given me".

He returned to Wimbledon this year for a parade of champions, and said at the time he hoped to play there again, but in a competitive sense that will not happen.

Federer said there was "so much to celebrate", adding: "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."

A player whose skills could take the breath away, Federer might trail Nadal by two and Djokovic by one on the all-time list of men's grand slam winners, but to many he will be remembered as the greatest of the trio.

Federer was a virtuoso with racket in hand, going past the previous record of men's grand slam singles wins held by Pete Sampras when landing his 15th major after an epic victory over Andy Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final.

He thanked his family and his support team in his announcement on Thursday, and hailed the fans who have always had his back.

Last year, Federer won the ATP's Fans' Favourite award for a 19th successive season.

He said: "You will never know how much strength and belief you have given me. The inspiring feeling of walking into full stadiums and arenas has been one of the huge thrills in my life. Without you, those successes would have felt lonely, rather than filled with joy and energy."

Federer has a financial stake in the Laver Cup, and earmarked it earlier this year as one of two comeback events, along with his home Swiss Indoors event in Basel next month.

However, now the hopes of playing that Basel event look to have been dashed.

 

His retirement decision comes in the wake of Serena Williams announcing last month she would be "evolving away from tennis".

Although she has tenuously left the door open for a change of heart, Williams' announcement was also effectively one of retirement too, and she was given a rousing send-off at the US Open.

Federer, whose career ran in close tandem with that of Williams, described his own career as "an incredible adventure".

"While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and so magical that it seems as if I've already lived a full lifetime," he added.

"I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive."

He recalled being "a ball kid" in Basel in his youth, and seeing players of a past generation at close quarters.

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

Federer had a reputation early in his career as a racket-smasher, and it was not clear that he had the temperament to maximise his talent.

That soon emerged, though, and Federer explained: "Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that 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 dream of a young Swiss ball kid come true."

He added: "Finally, to the game of tennis, I love you and will never leave you."

With a security detail to rival that of a president, Roger Federer strode along St Mary's Walk and into Court 14, crowds on the concourses urged to clear a path for a man rarely seen in such parts of the All England Club.

This was the king among his people, out in the boondocks by his standards. With a mighty swish of his racket, he might just be able to launch a tennis ball onto Centre Court's roof from down here.

It was day two of the 2015 Wimbledon championships, a warm Tuesday morning, and Federer needed a warm-up before his opening match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, a player that later in the day he would trounce for the loss of just seven games. That would of course be a Centre Court assignment. Invariably all of Federer's matches get centre stage.

The tiny Court 14 seats a couple of hundred spectators, maybe a handful more at a push, and whispers had spread to mean many were occupied for what was an unadvertised practice session, a Federer guerrilla gig. The media had been given a little advance notice, and a glimpse of Federer at close quarters is hard to turn down.

There was a hefty hint Federer would be arriving when Stefan Edberg - his coach and childhood idol - showed up several minutes ahead of his charge and began to limber up, while Rob Walker of Wimbledon TV stood patiently with a camera crew and a stack of notes, ready to tell the story of the day Federer played where only mere mortals usually tread.

Suddenly more news crews appeared, a stream of day-trippers strolling past the inconspicuous court became more like a scrum, and out came the camera phones, ball boys and ball girls craning for a view, making sure of a close-up shot. A woman working for IBM grinned ear to ear. And in walked Federer, dressed head to toe in white Nike gear, carrying a couple of Wilson tennis rackets and a cap bearing his RF insignia.

A G4S security man practically bit off his bottom lip while attempting to keep a straight face and simultaneously enforce crowd control as Federer passed by him. Thou shalt not smile.

Applause rang out, fans with cheap-rate ground passes cooed at the sight of the then seven-time champion. Federer acknowledged the swelling crowd.

And for the next half-hour or so he and Edberg gently put in a light session, rallying from the baseline, these great champions going through the motions that on another day might have taken place out of public sight. It amounted to little more than a balm to the ego before lunch.

And this was just another day in the life of Roger Federer, who has now announced his retirement. He has probably forgotten all about it. Some will remember it for the rest of their lives.

 

Edberg takes on a real relevance in the story of Federer's retirement because they spoke together about how to go through the process.

Swedish great Edberg announced his own decision to quit in December 1995, a month before his 30th birthday, and the 1996 season became his farewell tour, feted everywhere he went.

But Edberg struggled with his form in that year of goodbyes and glad-handing, reaching only one final, losing to Boris Becker in the Queen's Club title match, and he ultimately regretted the hoopla that followed him around.

Speaking to The Tennis Podcast in 2020, Edberg explained how he warded Federer off following his example.

"We actually talked a little bit about it and I would not recommend it to anybody actually, even if it's a nice thing to do, because it does put too much pressure on yourself and there would be too many things going on in your mind," Edberg said.

"So if you're going to announce it, I would do it just before my last tournament or have it in my mind, but not for anybody else to know. It's very tough to handle, but at the same time it was a very memorable year, but I would not recommend it."

Federer only worked in tight tandem with Edberg for two years, but he has so much respect and admiration for the man that such advice was sure to have registered.

And now the 20-time grand slam winner is retiring. Let that sink in.

It will take some getting used to, tennis without Federer. Without his ritual beastings of young upstarts on tour, without his perfect manners, quasi-aristocratic foibles, and those multilingual, exquisitely delivered, post-match news conferences. Without Anna Wintour gazing down adoringly from the Royal Box. Without Mirka.

"I wanted to be a tennis player or a soccer player from a very young age," Federer said at Wimbledon some years ago.

Was there a Wimbledon final that tilted him the way of tennis?

"I think the Becker-Edberg final. I don't remember which year because they played a few times. I was sitting at home in the living room, watching them play, thinking hopefully one day I can be like them, you know," Federer said.

Edberg and Becker met in consecutive Wimbledon finals from 1988 to 1990, the Swede winning the first and last of those matches. Theirs was a great rivalry.

"That's I guess where idols and inspirations are good. They push you forward," Federer said. "Then along the way you joke around and say it's coming closer. When you win a practice match, you just fake like you've just won Wimbledon. All of a sudden it's really happening."

 

It was "really happening" for Federer by the late 1990s, as he won the boys' singles at Wimbledon in 1998, beating Georgia's Irakli Labadze, and barely 12 months later he was a top 100 player on the men's tour.

But he was a firebrand too as a teenager, something he was compelled to explain at Wimbledon in 2001, when the 19-year-old Federer became the centre of attention for the first time after defeating Pete Sampras, champion for the previous four years, in the fourth round.

Federer had been a picture of composure in that match and was asked whether he modelled his approach on ice-cool Pistol Pete.

"Not at all actually. I was throwing around my racket like you probably don't imagine," Federer said. "I was getting kicked out of practice sessions non-stop when I was 16. Now since maybe I think this year, I started just to relax a little bit more on court.

"I'm not smashing as many rackets as before. I realised that the racket throwing didn't help my game because I was always getting very negative."

When Federer got his hands on a grand slam trophy for the first time, it was Wimbledon in 2003 and he was lobbed a prescient question by a reporter who asked whether he might one day emulate seven-time champion Sampras at Wimbledon.

"This is one of his seven, you know. I'm so far away," he said. "I'm just happy to be on the board. If I look at all the players who have won here, a lot have been idols to me. Just to be on the board with (Bjorn) Borg and these people, it's just nice to be a part of history at Wimbledon."

Nevertheless, that was the first of five consecutive Wimbledon triumphs for Federer, matching a Borg record. Around such feats are legends created; because of the vicarious pleasure he provided to so many, crowds will forever flock around Federer, whether on Centre Court, Court 14 or his local food court.

As Federer's slam stack grew, and he nudged nearer Sampras' hauls of seven Wimbledon titles and 14 majors, the American great made his Swiss successor a promise: he would be there when those records began to fall.

When Federer fended off Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set of the 2009 Wimbledon final to go to 15 slams, Sampras indeed was there, albeit he arrived late.

"It was a bit special," Federer said. "When he walked in and I saw him for the first time, I did get more nervous actually. I said hello to him, too, which is unusual. But I thought, I don't want to be rude."

And in 2017, nudging 36, Federer triumphed at Wimbledon for an eighth and final time, beating an injury hampered Marin Cilic.

"Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my opinion," he said afterwards. "If you do, you must have so much talent and parents and the coaches that push you from the age of three on, who think you're like a project," he said. "I was not that kid. I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basel, hoping to make a career on the tennis tour."

At the beginning of 2018, he added a sixth Australian Open title to reach 20 slam crowns, a figure beyond the wildest dream of anyone in men's tennis before the Big Three showed up.

 

The argument rages on about who has been the greatest men's tennis star of all-time, and whether it should be Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal from this era who is the prime contender for such a nebulous crown.

Federer has a losing head-to-head against both his younger rivals, there is no escaping that fact. He trails Nadal 24-16 and Djokovic 27-23. Both have been whittling away at his records, taking their fair share. Yet Federer still has the most Open Era match wins among men at Wimbledon (105) and the Australian Open (102), the most wins in slams overall by a man (369), and the most grass-court singles titles in ATP tour history (19).

He won 103 tournaments, second only to Jimmy Connors (109). He underwent knee surgery twice in 2020 and returned to seek more silverware, because he believed he could still win, even as his 40th birthday approached.

Federer is the man who recalibrated the levels that players can reach in men's tennis, the game-changing figurehead that Nadal and Djokovic have been chasing from the outset of their own magnificent careers.

Without Federer to aim for, perhaps Nadal and Djokovic would not have scaled such great heights.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

What is certain is that the Federer era is ending. And that's the thing about eras, they always end. Sometimes, you've just got to be grateful to have lived through them. Roger that?

Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis, declaring next week's Laver Cup in London will be his farewell tournament.

The Swiss great, who has won 20 grand slams, becomes the first of the 'Big Three' on the men's tour to call it a day, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still active.

Federer said he was making a "bittersweet decision", having battled knee injuries in the hope of returning to the tour.

Now 41 years old, Federer wrote in a statement on social media on Thursday: "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 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."

Victory at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night saw Carlos Alcaraz anointed both the US Open champion and the new world number one.

The victor of the New York final between Alcaraz and Casper Ruud would climb to the top of the ATP rankings, and a four-set success for the 19-year-old made him the youngest ever men's number one.

That record had previously belonged to a 20-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in November 2000.

Although Alcaraz's huge potential has long been public knowledge, the chances of him beating Hewitt's mark still seemed remote when he started 2022 ranked 32nd.

Even Juan Carlos Ferrero, the Spaniard's coach, did not anticipate a major breakthrough this soon, telling reporters after Sunday's win: "Of course, it comes very fast.

"It's a surprise for everybody except maybe to me, because I trained with him every day and I know [how] he's able to play on the court, [but] I was pretty sure that maybe it wasn't this year; it could be the next one."

By the time he took to Arthur Ashe Stadium against Ruud, however, Alcaraz's ascent to the top of the sport was a surprise to nobody.

Moving from number four to first place might have tied the biggest leap to number one in rankings history, but Alcaraz leads the ATP Tour in both match wins (51) and titles (five) in 2022.

There is little prospect of him slowing now, having become the first man in the Open Era to win the US Open title as early as in his second entry; the last to do so in any era was Pancho Gonzales back in 1948.

"Of course, I'm hungry for more," Alcaraz said afterwards. "I want to be in the top for many, many weeks. Hopefully many years.

"I'm going to work hard again after this week, this amazing two weeks. I'm going to fight to have more of this."

And Alcaraz will have to fight – Ferrero knows as much as that.

"The players now are going to play very motivated against him," the teenager's coach added. "Now he's number one. Before he was two or three.

"Even like this, it's like Real Madrid-Barcelona, there's a rivalry that gets you [to] increase your level. It's what is going to happen to him against his opponents. He has to be ready."

Since Roger Federer became the 23rd different men's number one in February 2004, the rankings have been dominated by the 'Big Three', with only Andy Murray and then, this year, Daniil Medvedev also leading the Tour in that time.

Now, as the 28th number one, Alcaraz – compared by Ruud to each of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – can set about securing his own long stay at the summit.

Carlos Alcaraz has a mixture of the qualities Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic possess, according to the man he defeated in the men's US Open final Casper Ruud.

Prodigious Spanish talent Alcaraz became a grand slam champion for the first time at the age of just 19 thanks to a 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 triumph at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday.

It was a win that propelled him to the top of the world rankings for the first time, while Ruud has now lost two slam finals this year having been defeated by Nadal at the French Open.

Ruud was philosophical about losing to a player many believe will be the dominant force in the men's game, likening his movement on the court to legends Nadal and Djokovic.

"When someone asks about a player's biggest weapon you tend to think forehand, backhand, serve, whatever it is," Ruud said.

"But sort of his movement is one of his many weapons. It makes us other players feel like you need to paint the lines sort of to be able to hit a winner. Sometimes even that's not enough.

"He's very fast. He's very quick. He's a great mover. He can get to balls that we've probably never seen before.

"But you have other great movers, as well. I mean, this game has become so physically demanding, and all the players in the top of the world, they do the right things to improve always.

"Speed, agility of the players I think are just improving, improving. The physical aspect has been not changed but it has improved by everyone.

"I think Novak and Rafa and also [Roger] Federer, I think they kind of set the bar on how well you can move out there. 

"Rafa, when he was Carlos' age, he was also similar. He tracked down everything. Almost no one could hit a winner on him. Novak the same with his flexibility. He gets to certain shots that you think, 'how is that even possible?'

"Carlos has sort of a mixture of both. He's fast, flexible. He can slide around. It's impressive. He's a hard nut to crack."

Ruud can take consolation from the fact his second appearance at a slam final was a marked improvement on Roland Garros where Nadal breezed to a 6-3 6-3 6-0 triumph.

The Norwegian conceded he had more belief going up against Alcaraz in New York, though he – somewhat tongue-in-cheek – added he hopes not to play a Spaniard in any future slam finals.

"I think obviously if you reach a grand slam final, whoever you play will be a great player on the opposite side of the net," he added.

"At Roland Garros, it was hard for me to believe that I could beat Rafa. Today was not easier, but I believed it more. I think these two tournaments have sort of made my self-belief to win a grand slam grow.

"Hopefully these two experiences can help me. I guess I hope I don't play a Spanish player if I ever reach another slam final! They know what they're doing in the slam finals. Let's hope for another than a Spanish [player]."

Ruud added: "I still thought I was the underdog in a way because of Carlos, he's on paper higher ranking and all these things. 

"But it was more fun for me today. I didn't need to play the biggest idol of my life on the biggest match of my life. It was sort of easier for me to believe that I could win."

Carlos Alcaraz never thought his success would come as quickly as it has, with the 19-year-old becoming the youngest men's world number one in history by defeating Casper Ruud in the US Open final on Sunday.

It was Alcaraz's first grand slam final, and in the process he broke the record for the most cumulative court time at a single grand slam after grinding through three consecutive five-set matches in the lead-up to the four-set final.

This is the third big tournament the Spaniard has won this year. He became the first player born after the year 2000 to win an ATP 1000 Masters event when he beat Ruud at the Miami Open, and then followed it up with a straight-sets win over Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final.

Speaking to the media after his maiden major title, Alcaraz called it "crazy" and a "dream".

"Well, it's crazy for me," he said. "I never thought that I was going to achieve something like that at 19 years old – everything has come so fast.

"For me it's unbelievable. It's something I've dreamed since I was a kid, since I started playing tennis. Of course, lifting this trophy today is amazing for me.

"Right now I'm enjoying the moment – I'm enjoying having the trophy in my hands – but, of course, I'm hungry for more. 

"I want to be at the top for many, many weeks – hopefully many years. I'm going to work hard again after this… I'm going to fight for more of this."

With his rapid rise to the pinnacle of the sport, Alcaraz said his victory in Miami was when he realised the path he was on could include grand slam titles.

"Honestly, since I won Miami," he said. "Since I won Miami, I thought I was able to have a grand slam in my hands.

"But before Miami, I was thinking that I have to still grow up. I thought that I'm able to have good results in a grand slam, but not a champion.

"But I would say after Miami – I won great matches in a row – I would say after that I thought that I'm able to win a grand slam."

Casper Ruud was understandably disappointed to miss out on the US Open title and the world number one spot, but he vowed to continue his pursuit of a major breakthrough.

Ruud played his second grand slam final of the season at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, yet that match ended in the same manner as his French Open defeat to Rafael Nadal.

The Norwegian, who would have led the rankings had he taken the title, went down 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 to Carlos Alcaraz, who instead himself became the youngest ever number one.

It was the first major final played between two men looking to become number one for the first time.

Ruud was bidding to make the biggest leap to the top of the rankings, having previously been the world number seven.

It was not to be, but the 23-year-old's reward for his form in New York was number two – a fine consolation prize.

"It's tough to explain everything," Ruud said, reflecting on his season. "Things have been going so well. I'm so excited for it.

"Today was a special evening. Both Carlos and I knew what we were playing for, we knew what was at stake.

"It's fun that both finalists would be number two and number one tomorrow. I think it's fitting.

"I'm disappointed, of course, that I'm not number one, but number two is not too bad either. I will continue to chase for my first grand slam and the number one ranking."

Carlos Alcaraz was determined fatigue would not get the better of his US Open title tilt, but he accepted he was "a little bit" tired after defeating Casper Ruud in Sunday's final.

Alcaraz set a grand slam record for the most time spent on court at a single tournament, in large part due to playing five-set matches in the fourth round, quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Still, the 19-year-old had enough energy left to take down Ruud in four sets, with his 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 victory making him a first-time major champion and the new world number one.

Asked if he would now acknowledge the effects of this run on him, Alcaraz replied: "A little bit.

"I always say it's not time to be tired in the final round of a grand slam or any tournament; you have to give everything on court, everything you have inside. It's something I work really, really hard on."

Alcaraz is the youngest player to ever sit atop the men's rankings, and he added: "This is something I dreamt of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be a champion of a grand slam.

"It's something I worked really, really hard for. It's tough to talk right now. There's a lot of emotions right now.

"This is something I tried to achieve. All the hard work I did with my team, my family... I'm just 19 years old, so all the tough decisions are with my parents, my team as well. This is something that is really, really special for me."

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud in four sets to win his first major at the US Open and make history in moving to the top of the ATP rankings.

Either Alcaraz or Ruud would have taken the world number one spot had they won at Flushing Meadows, and it was the 19-year-old who prevailed 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 on Sunday.

The teenager – the second-youngest New York champion of the Open Era after Pete Sampras – therefore became the youngest ever men's number one.

Alcaraz had come through five-set matches in each of the prior three rounds, and he was again worked hard by Ruud – the new number two.

Ultimately, though, the highly talented Spaniard had the staying power to win his first grand slam title, becoming the first teenager to do so since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

Despite the draining efforts of previous nights, Alcaraz made a rapid start, quickly forging three break points in the third game of the match and taking the second of them.

Ruud did little else wrong in the first set but had to bide his time to respond, losing the opener and fending off an opportunity for a break in the second before immediately applying pressure going the other way.

The Norwegian reached an Alcaraz drop shot and lobbed his opponent before watching the backhand reply land long to lead, although three unforced errors in the next game almost let Alcaraz back in.

Instead, Ruud dug in and then profited when a sloppy Alcaraz service game allowed him to clinch the second set.

Alcaraz responded in sublime fashion, immediately piling on the pressure in the third frame and breaking down Ruud's defence with a pinpoint drop shot, yet the set was level again when he crashed into the net, with a sensational rally required to reach a tie-break.

A couple of wild Ruud strokes decided the 73-minute set in Alcaraz's favour, though, and the fifth seed went long in the fourth to set his opponent on course, with an emotional victory secured in ruthless style.

Data Slam: Marathon man Carlos crowned in New York

Only the third player to reach the US Open final after winning in five sets in each of the prior three rounds, Alcaraz avoided seeing another match going all the way – even if past results suggest that would have worked in his favour.

Regardless, Alcaraz set a new record for the most time spent on court at a major tournament. Since 1999, when this data was first available, Kevin Anderson's 2018 Wimbledon run had previously represented the benchmark.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Alcaraz – 14/3
Ruud – 4/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Alcaraz – 55/41
Ruud – 37/29

BREAK POINTS WON

Alcaraz – 3/11
Ruud – 3/10

Robert Lewandowski has paid tribute to "great champion" Iga Swiatek following his compatriot's US Open triumph.

Swiatek became the first Polish singles champion at Flushing Meadows after defeating Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Saturday.

It was the world number one's second grand slam success of a brilliant season, having won a further six WTA titles including the French Open in June.

The 21-year-old became the first woman to triumph at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows in the same campaign since Serena Williams in 2013.

Swiatek and Lewandowski are among the pre-eminent Polish sports stars of this generation and shared an embrace on Court Philippe Chatrier following the former's success in Paris.

The Barcelona striker, who was on target in the Blaugrana's 4-0 win at Cadiz this weekend, celebrated his compatriot's latest victory, hailing the 10th WTA title of her career on social media.

"Congratulations Iga!" he tweeted. "You're a great champion, and you've proven it yet again on the biggest stage. I am so happy for you."

World number one Iga Swiatek ominously declared "the sky is the limit" for her after claiming her third grand slam title with Saturday's victory over Ons Jabeur in the US Open final.

Swiatek added the 2022 US Open title to her two French Open crowns (2020 and 2022) with the 6-2 7-6 (7-5) victory over fifth seed Jabeur in one hour and 51 minutes.

The 21-year-old, who also made this year's Australian Open semi-finals, is only the seventh female player in the Open Era to win her first three grand slam finals, alongside Virginia Wade, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty.

The Pole's dominance in those finals is underlined by the fact she becomes the first player to win 10 consecutive WTA-level finals in straight sets since 2000. She is also the second female player in the Open Era to win her first six sets in grand slam finals since Lindsay Davenport.

Swiatek is the first woman since Maria Sharapova in 2008 to win her third grand slam title before the age of 22. She is also the first woman to win two majors in one year since Angelique Kerber in 2016.

"At the beginning of the season I realized that maybe I can have some good results on WTA events," she told reporters. "But I wasn't sure if I was on the level yet to win actually a grand slam, especially on US Open where the surface is so fast.

"It's something that I wasn't expecting. It's also like a confirmation for me that sky is the limit. I'm proud, also surprised little bit, just happy that I was able to do that."

When pressed on her potential future dominance, she added: "I still have to realize that it's tough out there, so I want to stay on the ground.

"For now I've got to settle with what's happening right now. I'm going to see how I'm going to react. Because also winning US Open is different than winning a slam in Europe or in Australia because I don't know how the popularity thing is going to change, if it's going to change.

"For now I'm kind of going to observe and learn. For the future, I know I still have a lot to improve on court. That's something that I'm excited for because maybe it's just going to get easier to play these matches."

Swiatek's US Open triumph comes after an unconvincing lead-up on hard courts, losing early in tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.

The three-time major winner had gone on a 37-match winning run earlier in the year, including many victories on her preferred clay surface, before losing in the third round at Wimbledon in June.

Swiatek found it hard to compare her US Open triumph to her Roland Garros victories but admitted winning on the hard court was special.

"Roland Garros I always feel like I have more control and I feel like Philippe Chatrier is kind of my place," she said. "Here on Ashe, I still need to figure out the atmosphere. I wasn't sure before the match if this is actually my place.

"I was pretty focused and I didn't let myself get into these thoughts. I don't know if it's more than the second win on Roland Garros because I feel like back then the pressure was really on and everybody was kind of expecting me to win.

"Here I managed to go ahead of my expectations, and also I feel like people were not expecting a lot from me on hard court. So mentally I think Roland Garros was little bit tougher. But tennis-wise and physically here for sure it was tougher."

For Jabeur, the defeat means back-to-back runner-up finishes at majors after losing the Wimbledon final to Elena Rybakina in July. The Tunisian, however, remained determined to break through for a maiden grand slam title.

"Definitely Wimbledon was tough," Jabeur said. "This one is going to be tough. It's part of tennis. Winning or losing is part of it and unfortunately it is me. I struggled to win my first WTA title. It took me time so I believe this will take me time.

"The most important thing is accepting it, learning from the finals that I lost. But definitely I'm not someone that going to give up. I am sure I'm going to be in the final again. I will try my best to win it."

New York City might not be Iga Swiatek's kind of place, but she has made an exception during this US Open fortnight.

The US Open balls, controversially lighter for the women than the men, might not be up Swiatek's street, but she made an exception for them too.

And if the match-up with Ons Jabeur in the Flushing Meadows final felt almost too close to call – most were forecasting three sets, flip a coin on the winner – well, perhaps Swiatek took exception.

Rising to the occasion of a grand slam final is what exceptional players do, making exceptions in times of need, taking exception to doubters, carrying off titles. If anyone was beginning to doubt Swiatek after her mid-summer dip, this Arthur Ashe Stadium triumph banished the thought she is anything other than exceptional.

At times her play was brilliant, and when her level dropped, as it did in the second set, she was gritty. In the end, she was not as clutch as she might have liked, unable to take a match point at 6-5 on Jabeur's serve and pushed into a tie-break, but a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) victory goes into the record books.

In the end, that's all that counts. Habitual winners find a way, down one path or another.

The second set was a curious confection, both players losing their fluency but fighting hard for every point, tenacity overriding talent at times as the high stakes involved often brought the level down.

Swiatek appeared distracted by a call from the crowd at one stage, that New York bustle again getting in her head.

On the eve of the tournament, Swiatek said of New York: "I wouldn't choose it as a place to live because I'm more of a person that needs a calm place with the proper environment to rest. New York is kind of always alive. That's not for sure my place."

So, Iga, how does New York feel now?

"It's so loud, it's so crazy," she said at Saturday's trophy presentation. "There were so many temptations in the city, so many people I've met who were so inspiring. It's really mind blowing for me and I'm so proud I could handle it mentally."

The 21-year-old has a third grand slam title and a first away from the French Open, where she was champion at the pandemic-delayed slam in October 2020 and again this year.

Swiatek is a Pole on a roll when it comes to the big occasions, having won 20 consecutive sets in finals, all tournaments considered, and remarkably she is the first woman to win two or more slams in a single season since Angelique Kerber in 2016.

These two women will be numbers one and two in the new WTA rankings, and there could be a real rivalry brewing. Or there might just be a slew of these trophies coming Swiatek's way.

She is the first women to win the French Open and the US Open in the same year since Serena Williams in 2013.

If Williams does not play again, as we now expect, then Swiatek will be a very different type of figurehead for the women's game, an introvert who goes about her business quietly, but purposefully.

She becomes just the ninth woman in the Open Era to earn a third singles slam before turning 22, joining an illustrious list also featuring Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert.

As Jabeur came charging back at Swiatek in the second set, recovering from 3-0 and 4-2 adrift to take it to the tie-break, thoughts turned to what a victory for the Tunisian would have meant.

A tournament that began as the Serena Williams show, a celebration of a player who alongside sister Venus opened the door for so many black players, might have ended with the triumph of an African Arab woman, one whose driving force is to see more players from her continent, and of her ethnicity, make strides in professional tennis.

Jabeur's time will probably come, but this defeat will sting, just as losing to Elena Rybakina in the title match did at Wimbledon two months ago.

"I want to thank the crowd for cheering me on. I really tried, but Iga didn't make it easy for me," Jabeur said. "She deserved to win today. I don't like her very much right now but it's okay."

She vowed to "get that title sometime soon", but with Swiatek around that might be difficult.

Swiatek is the second woman since the slams opened themselves up to professionals in 1968 to win her first six sets in grand slam singles finals. For the record, Lindsay Davenport was the first.

This final came at the end of a tournament that Swiatek entered with low expectations. Defeat to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon halted her 37-match winning run, the longest on the women's tour this century, and it was followed by a string of results that saw Swiatek go no further than the quarter-finals in her next three events.

"Maybe I'm the kind of person who is never going to trust myself," Swiatek said, heading into the final.

She is a different model of champion, perhaps not the kind they are used to or particularly get behind in New York. There is no razzmatazz, no edge: just intense focus.

Swiatek is always doubting, but always looking for ways to improve, and now, when it comes to finals, always getting the job done.

US Open runner-up Ons Jabeur hopes her historic run to the final at Flushing Meadows can help inspire future generations of players from African and Arab nations.

Tunisian Jabeur went down 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to world number one Iga Swiatek in Saturday's thrilling final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 28-year-old was the first African female player to reach the singles final at the US Open in the Open Era, having earlier this year become the first such player to reach the showpiece match of a grand slam in the Open Era.

Jabeur lost 3-6 6-2 6-2 to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, though despite not winning a set against Swiatek, gave a better account of herself this time around.

It has been some rise for Jabeur, who had previously never reached a semi-final in 20 previous major appearances. She will be the world number two when the new WTA rankings are confirmed on Monday.

An African player has not won a grand slam singles title since 1981, when Johan Kriek triumphed at the Australian Open. He retained his title a year later, yet was competing for the United States.

Indeed, a player from the continent, male or female, has not enjoyed success at any major since Cara Black won in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2010, but Jabeur is hoping that will soon change.

"I want to thank the crowd for cheering me on, I really tried, she deserved to win today – I don't like her very much right now, but it's okay," Jabeur smiled as she hailed Swiatek's performance in her on-court interview.

"An amazing two weeks to be honest, making up for my final at Wimbledon. I'm going to keep working hard and we'll get that title sometime soon."

Asked how proud she was of her history making season, Jabeur replied: "It really means a lot and I try to push myself to do more. Getting the major is one of the goals.

"Hopefully I can inspire more and more generations, that's the goal and I get inspired by so many champions. Thank you also to my team, always pushing me.

"We want more and more kids coming here hopefully, I just really hope I can inspire more. This is just the beginning."

Jabeur is the first player to reach the final at both Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season since the great Serena Williams did so in 2019, and only the seventh player overall since the turn of the century.

After struggling to find rhythm in the first set, the fifth seed hit back in the second, coming from 4-2 down to restore parity and subsequently save the first of Swiatek's championship points en route to forcing a tie-break.

Jabeur found herself serving for the set at 5-4 up, yet a wonderful Swiatek forehand and a sloppy shot into the net handed her opponent a second bite at the cherry.

The Pole took it thanks to an overhit Jabeur forehand, meaning the Tunisian has now lost seven of her 10 Tour-level finals, and all three of the showpiece matches she has played in on hard courts.

Iga Swiatek reflected on a "mindblowing" Flushing Meadows experience after clinching her first US Open title with yet another straight-sets final win.

Swiatek defeated Ons Jabeur 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in New York on Saturday to win her third major – all of them in straight sets.

The world number one is only the second WTA player to win her first six grand slam final sets in the Open Era, after Lindsay Davenport.

In fact, Swiatek has now won her past 10 finals in two sets, becoming the first woman to do so in the 21st century.

Seven of those have come in 2022 – Serena Williams, in 2014, was the last player to win as many Tour-level finals in a season – as Swiatek has dominated.

However, the Pole explained after beating Jabeur how "challenging" it was to win a second slam in the same season, having already taken the title at the French Open.

Angelique Kerber was the last WTA player to win multiple majors in a single year back in 2016, while Williams, in 2013, was the last to double up at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.

Asked how she rose to the occasion once again, Swiatek replied: "I don't know, honestly.

"I'm just not expecting a lot. Especially before this tournament, it was such a challenging time. Coming back after wining a grand slam is always tricky, even if Roland Garros was the second one.

"I really needed to stay composed and focused on the goals.

"For sure this tournament was really challenging also, because it's New York, it's so hard, it's so crazy. There were so many temptations in the city, so many people I've met who were so inspiring.

"It's really mindblowing for me. I'm so proud I could handle it mentally."

This was Swiatek's fifth match against Jabeur, and victory gave her a 3-2 lead in their head-to-head.

"Ons, such an amazing tournament, such an amazing season," the top seed added. "I know this is already a pretty nice rivalry.

"I know we're going to have many more, and I'm pretty sure you're going to win some of them, so don't worry."

Swiatek is the first Polish female player to win the US Open in the Open Era, and she was asked how her latest success would be received.

"I don't know. I've got to go back home and check," she answered. "I'm pretty sure it's a lot; I can even hear what's going on right now in the stadium.

"Right now, we've got to stay united and really support ourselves and stay together. I'm pretty happy I could unite people with our sport, and I'm proud tennis is getting more and more popular at home."

Iga Swiatek turned in a stellar display befitting of her talent as she sealed the US Open title with a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) defeat of Ons Jabeur.

Swiatek has perhaps been short of her very best in New York but, despite a second-set wobble, found her level on Saturday to win a third major – the youngest player to do so since Maria Sharapova in 2008. 

Jabeur, the first woman to reach the final of Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season since Serena Williams in 2019, gave her all, forcing the world number one into a real battle in the middle of a tense second set.

It came down to a tie-break, but having won her last nine successive WTA finals in straight sets, Swiatek found the composure to pull through and cement her place at the summit of the game.

Nerves had Jabeur on the back foot from the off, with the Tunisian – the first African female to reach the singles final at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era – dropping serve to love to trail 2-0, with Swiatek swiftly going three to the good.

Jabeur stopped the rot for 3-1 before a display of power off both forehand and backhand gave the world number five two break points, the second of which she took, yet she could not keep the momentum going on her serve, conceding again and, this time, Swiatek did not let up, taking the set when her opponent sent a simple volley long.

Like in the first set, it was 2-0 when Swiatek broke, this time clipping a backhand down the line after latching onto a weak volley, Jabeur unable to assert any control.

A supreme backhand saw Swiatek take the next game, too, though she squandered a break chance when she appeared to be distracted by a shout from the crowd.

The pendulum swung firmly in Jabeur's favour when she made it 4-4, only for the 28-year-old to then pass up three break points.

Having dug deep to get through Jabeur's fightback, Swiatek had championship point at 40-30 up in the 12th game. As the crowd held their breath, the youngster changed racquets.

Perhaps it was forced, perhaps a ploy. Either way, the change backfired, Jabeur rolling off three successive points to force a tie-break. 

Jabeur kicked a ball into the crowd in anger after an overhit forehand gifted Swiatek a 4-2 lead, but a trio of points mounted the pressure back to the other side of the court.

Yet it was pressure that Swiatek was able to handle, seeing out two Jabeur serves to turn the tables back in her favour and, on this occasion, she prevailed - Jabeur hitting long to end her brave fight.

Data Slam: Swiatek's year of dominance 

Jabeur and Swiatek entered Saturday's showpiece with the most wins in 2022 and the latter has now matched former world number one Ash Barty's record of 57 victories in a single season (Set in 2019), a haul the 21-year-old will surely overtake.

The first top-seeded female player to reach the final at the US Open since Williams in 2014, Swiatek has matched the 23-time grand slam champion in another metric, too, becoming the first player to win seven titles in a single season since the American great did so eight years ago.

Swiatek is only the ninth player in the Open Era to win her third grand slam title before turning 22, after Sharapova, Justine Henin, both Williams sisters, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 1/0

Jabeur – 2/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 19/30

Jabeur – 14/33

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 5/12

Jabeur – 3/9

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