Iga Swiatek could reach double figures for grand slam titles but Wimbledon may be a stumbling block, according to Marion Bartoli.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Bartoli said she did not expect any player on the WTA Tour to match the "greatness" of Serena or Venus Williams.

The Frenchwoman, who won the 2013 Wimbledon women's singles title, also claimed the level of competition is currently not as strong as it was for the previous generation.

She is sold on Swiatek, though, who added to her 2020 and 2022 French Open titles by winning the US Open earlier in September.

The 21-year-old Polish player has emerged as the clear world number one since Ash Barty retired in March, stringing together 37 consecutive wins at one point until Alize Cornet beat her in round three at Wimbledon.

A lull in her performances followed that exit on the grass, but Swiatek fought her way through the field to triumph in New York.

"I was very impressed by how Iga this time with the US Open came with absolutely zero confidence and still found a way to win, and that is really a champion's mind," Bartoli said.

""She played really not great tennis in Toronto, not good tennis in Cincinnati, didn't play that well before the US Open. Whatever she worked on with her coach, she went on and plugged in for seven matches and to win the title, which is very impressive.

"So I think the level it's not at the highest, but I think the way she has been able to handle the pressure and go for it and win was absolutely very, very impressive.

"And she will win more. For sure she will win more on clay, she will win more on normal, slower hardcourts. Maybe not grass, but slow hard court is really a good surface for her as well. So easily between five and 10 for Iga, easily."

With Serena Williams saying a fond farewell to competitive tennis at the US Open, the women's tour has lost a 23-slam giant. In Bartoli's mind, there may be nobody of the great American's prowess to emerge for many years to come.

She said: "I think it's unfair to ask any of the current women's players to be as dominating as Serena was, or you know Venus as well.

"You just can't ask them to be at that level of greatness. You get that one out of a century or even two centuries. So I think we will have to wait a while before we get the next Serena Williams.

"And even Coco [Gauff] has talked about it, [saying] 'I'm not Serena, I will probably not get 23 grand slams like Serena you know, so stop putting pressure on me'.

"I think they're just trying their hardest, they're just trying their best, but obviously as Maria Sharapova said and I agree with her, the level of competition we used to have when all of us were playing was I think higher than what it is now."

Bartoli pointed to the example of Emma Raducanu, as a near-unknown, winning the US Open last year. She said that triumph for the British teenager was "out of any rational thoughts".

"This year she lost first round [to Cornet] and she dropped to 80 in the world," Bartoli added.

"You know that someone at 80 and someone at five, there is not so much of a difference in terms of level. And that's why you see those sort of upsets and constant change."

Novak Djokovic does not regret missing out on the US Open due to his vaccination stance and is waiting to discover if he will be allowed to compete in the 2022 Australian Open.

The 21-time grand slam winner missed two of this year's four majors owing to his decision to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Though Djokovic was able to extend his record at Wimbledon, he lost joint control of the outright Open Era title for most men's single majors to Rafael Nadal, after the latter won in Australia and then at the French Open.

Carlos Alcaraz, meanwhile, won a maiden grand slam to become the new world number one with victory at Flushing Meadows earlier this month.

Djokovic was barred from entering the USA on vaccination grounds, but speaking ahead of this week's Laver Cup, the Serbian says he does not rue his choice.

"No, I don't have any regrets," he said. "I mean, I do feel sad that I wasn't able to play but that was a decision that I made, and I knew what the consequences would be. I accepted them and that's it."

Djokovic was quick to hail teenager Alcaraz, congratulating the Spaniard for his victory, and adding: "He did it in an incredible fashion. He's 19 years old and already the number one in the world.

"I think he's a great addition to our sport, a great star in the making. We can't speak about him as the future because he is already the present."

Djokovic's 2022 started in less than auspicious circumstances when, having been granted an exception to compete in Australia despite the nation's strict COVID-19 protocols, he was subsequently deported.

Questions over whether he would even be allowed back in the country remain up in the air, but the Serbian is hopeful of a reprieve.

"I'm waiting for the news," he added. "It's really not in my hands right now. So I'm hoping I can get some positive news soon."

Roger Federer will remain forever "linked" with Wimbledon following the 20-time grand slam winner's retirement announcement, says Marion Bartoli.

The Swiss veteran confirmed this month's Laver Cup will be his final top-tier tennis tournament on the ATP Tour, calling time one of the greatest careers in any sport.

But while fellow big-three stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal remain unparalleled at the Australian Open and French Open respectively, it is Federer who has made Wimbledon his defining legacy.

With eight men's singles triumphs, the 41-year-old is closely associated with the event, and was welcomed back with a riotous reception earlier this year for a parade celebrating the centenary of Centre Court.

Bartoli, the 2013 women's singles champion, was also at that event and she says Federer's legacy in London will remain for decades to come, even as Djokovic creeps closer to levelling it.

"I was lucky enough to have this very special moment," she told Stats Perform. "He was the last one to walk on the court because he won eight times there and the reception from the crowd, it was just absolutely manic.

"The whole [of] Centre Court just exploded. He [is] just so loved there. That 2019 final, where he lost to Novak having had two match points. I don't think one person outside of Novak's family [wanted him to lose].

"Roger and Wimbledon – [the] two are just linked together. It's just his body. The problem is when you just can't do it any more physically. He played more than 1,500 matches over 20-plus years. You can't do this forever.

"There is a certain time when your body has its limits, and [this] was it for Roger. But I think no one can blame him for not trying every single time 100 per cent when he was stepping on the court."

Roger Federer's retirement from tennis marks the end of an era, as one of the sport's finest bows out next week at the Laver Cup.

A 20-time grand slam champion and six-time ATP Tour Finals victor – the latter still an undefeated record in the Open Era – the Swiss star has been one of the leading lights in the men's game.

Coming on the heels of Serena Williams' apparent finish at the summit of the sport at this month's US Open, it represents the latest major changing of the guard near the summit of tennis' upper echelons.

Throughout his career, the 41-year-old has stood either alone or alongside a rarefied group in the record group, and Stats Perform has rounded up some of his most impressive statistics.

750 - Federer has spent 750 weeks in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings, an undefeated number for a male player since they were first published in 1973.

369 - He has won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369).

237 - With 237 consecutive weeks at number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history – a stretch of four-and-a-half years.

105 - Federer has played 105 matches at Wimbledon in the Open Era, more than any other male player.

 

103 - The number of ATP-level titles won by Federer in the Open Era is 103, a feat bettered only by Jimmy Connors (109).

36 - At the age of 36 years, five months and seven days, Federer won his last grand slam, at the 2018 Australian Open, becoming the oldest man to do so in the Open Era save for Ken Rosewall in 1972 (37 years, a month and 24 days, also in Melbourne).

224 - Federer has recorded 224 victories against top-10 opponents. Only Novak Djokovic (232) has more such wins in the Open Era.

15 - In his home tournament in Basel, Federer reached 15 finals, the highest tally for a player in a single ATP-level tournament since the majors turned professional in 1968.

1 - With 429 grand slam matches to his name in the Open Era, Federer is the only male player to have exceeded the 400+ mark.

10 - Federer is the only male player able to reach 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals in the Open Era (between Wimbledon 2005 and the US Open 2007).

0 - According to ATP Media info, Federer never retired from a match in his career (1,526 matches in singles, 223 in doubles).

Lots of eras have ended in 2022.

Tennis has now seen two in a short period of time, as Serena Williams' decision to step away from the court after the US Open was followed by Roger Federer announcing on Thursday that he will do the same after next week's Laver Cup in London.

Federer has had one of the most decorated careers an athlete could hope for, winning 20 grand slams, including eight men's singles titles at Wimbledon.

No player has claimed more than his 369 match wins at grand slams, with Novak Djokovic second on 334.

Following the Swiss star's announcement, Stats Perform has taken a look at five key moments from a truly remarkable career.

Taking of the torch

It felt like a big moment at the time, but with hindsight it was more like something from a Hollywood movie.

Pete Sampras had dominated at Wimbledon from 1993 to 2000, winning the men's singles title seven times in eight years.

Then, in the fourth round at SW19 in 2001, a pony-tailed teenager from Switzerland rocked up and beat him.

Federer had won the boys' championship at Wimbledon in 1998, but here he became a man, beating Sampras in a five-set thriller, to the delight of the crowd.

It denied Sampras an eighth title, which would ironically be a feat achieved by Federer years later.

First grand slam win

It was, of course, Wimbledon where Federer lifted his first grand slam. Two years after his win against Sampras it was time for him to fulfil his potential, and he did just that in 2003.

Going into the tournament as number four seed, he defeated the likes of Mardy Fish, Feliciano Lopez, Sjeng Schalken and Andy Roddick to reach the final.

There, he met big-serving Australian, Mark Philippoussis, and won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

People said it could be the first of many, which was somewhat of an understatement.

Five alive at Flushing Meadows

Having already mastered Wimbledon by winning it five years in a row between 2003 and 2007, Federer wanted to dominate other grand slams, which he certainly did in the United States.

After winning his first US Open title in 2004, he went on to win it again and again, culminating in repeating his Wimbledon trick by making it five consecutive in 2008.

Having earned passage to the championship match with a hard-fought four-set victory against Djokovic in the semis, Federer ended up easing to a win in the final against Andy Murray, beating the Scot 6-2 7-5 6-2 to secure number five on the hard courts of New York.

A clay clean sweep

Federer had more than proven himself on grass and hard court, but while he still won the vast majority of his matches on clay, he struggled to get over the line in the same way, particularly thanks to the presence of a certain talented Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal beat him in three consecutive French Open finals from 2006 to 2008, with Federer unable to even force a fifth set in any of those defeats.

However, in 2009 he did not have to face Nadal in the final. Instead, he came up against the man who had shocked Nadal in the fourth round, Robin Soderling.

Federer found the Swede an easier proposition in the final, beating him 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to win his first title at Roland Garros, and complete his set of grand slams, having also won three times at the Australian Open by that point (2004, 2006 and 2007).

The final trophy lift

In what turned out to be his last grand slam success, Federer absolutely cruised through the field at the Australian Open in 2018, not dropping a set until the final.

While he had continued to go far in tournaments and wowed the crowds with his trademark rallies and forehand winners, Federer had only won three grand slams since 2010.

Federer had won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017, and many thought that might have been his one last hurrah, but he arguably saved an even better showing for the first tournament of the following year.

He was made to earn it in the final, before ultimately overcoming Marin Cilic 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1.

It brought his overall total of grand slam victories to 20, and though that has since been passed by Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21), Federer will go down as one of the all-time greats.

US Open champions past and present Andy Roddick and Carlos Alcaraz led a swathe of social media tributes to Roger Federer after the 20-time grand slam winner announced his retirement.

Federer, who has not played competitively since exiting Wimbledon at the quarter-final stage last year, revealed on Thursday that next week's Laver Cup will be his farewell tournament.

Federer appeared at a parade of former champions at Wimbledon earlier this year and hinted at his desire to feature at the All England Club once more, but his upcoming outing in London will now represent the swansong to his stunning career.

The Swiss great will become the first of the ATP Tour's 'Big Three' to exit the sport, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still active. 

While Nadal and Djokovic have each surpassed Federer's tally of 20 major titles this year, the 41-year-old overtook Pete Sampras' previous record of 14 grand slam titles by beating Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final.

Roddick was among the first to pay tribute to Federer's achievements on Thursday, writing on Twitter: "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."

Alcaraz, who clinched his first grand slam title and became world number one with a US Open final win over Casper Ruud on Sunday, simply wrote: "Roger…", accompanied by a heartbroken emoji.

Milos Raonic has seen his efforts to win a major title foiled by the presence of the 'Big Four' – with Andy Murray beating him on his sole grand slam final appearance at Wimbledon in 2016 – but he also showed his appreciation for Federer's impact.

"Thank you for doing more for tennis than any single individual," Raonic wrote. "Thanks to you competitors and fans across the world get to experience and enjoy it all over the world. 

"Congratulations on your achievements and the people you continue to impact in and away from tennis."

Juan Martin del Potro, who prevented Federer from winning six consecutive US Open titles with a five-set success in the 2009 final, labelled the 41-year-old irreplaceable, declaring: "I LOVE YOU, Roger. 

"Thank you for everything you've done in tennis and with myself. [The] tennis world will never be the same without you."

Former player-turned presenter James Blake added: "Roger, there was and never will be anyone like you. You crushed me on the court, but were so nice and genuine that I couldn't hate you for it. 

"You made the game better on and off the court and you will be missed. Good luck, you have earned all the success and joy in the world."

Garbine Muguruza tweeted: "RF" followed by a heartbroken emoji.

Those who shared a court with Federer were not the only ones to pay tribute, however.

A tweet from Wimbledon's official account read: "Roger, where do we begin? It's been 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 for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many."

Roland Garros' official account tweeted: "An inspiration on and off the court. Thank you, Roger."

The US Open's handle simply posted: "Thank you, Roger."

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."

The Queen held a lifelong passion for horse racing, and that will be her great legacy in sports, but she was also present for a number of great sporting moments during her reign.

It was the Queen, the UK's longest-serving monarch who has died at the age of 96 at Balmoral on Thursday, who famously handed over the Jules Rimet Trophy to Bobby Moore after England's World Cup final triumph against West Germany at Wembley on July 30 1966.

She also made an appearance on Wimbledon's Centre Court in 1977, handing over the Venus Rosewater Dish to Virginia Wade, Britain's home women's singles champion in the monarch's silver jubilee year.

More recently, she presented racing's Derby trophy to winning jockey Pat Smullen in 2016 after his successful ride on Harzand.

Crowning glories at the racecourse

The then Princess Elizabeth was said to have first been on horseback at the age of three, before receiving her own pony, Peggy, as a four-year-old. Later, she became an enthusiastic and accomplished rider, and this passed through the generations.

Her daughter, Princess Anne, and granddaughter, Zara Phillips, were both voted winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for their achievements. Anne was an individual European eventing champion in 1971, while Zara won individual gold at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Queen inherited a stock of horses from her father, King George VI, upon his death in 1952, and became passionate about the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses, some of which went on to compete in and win major races.

One of those, Aureole, finished second in the Derby at Epson in 1953, the Queen's coronation year.

She was patron of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association from 1954 until her death, with her own thoroughbreds based at Sandringham's Royal Stud.

There were Classics winners that emerged from the ranks of the horses she has bred with Pall Mall winning the 2,000 Guineas in 1958, Highclere landing the 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane in 1974, and Dunfermline prevailing in the Oaks and St Leger in 1977, the Queen's silver jubilee year.

Carrozza, leased by the national stud to the monarch, won The Oaks at Epsom in 1957, with Lester Piggott on board.

"She adores breeding racehorses," her racing manager John Warren told CNN in 2014. "The British bloodstock industry is very lucky to have a patron such as the queen."

In a 1974 BBC documentary, The Queen’s Racehorses: A Personal View, the Queen said: "My philosophy about racing is simple. I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people's. And to me, that is a gamble from a long way back. I enjoy going racing but I suppose, basically, I love horses, and the thoroughbred epitomises a really good horse to me."

In 2013, she became the first reigning monarch to own the Ascot Gold Cup winner when favourite Estimate, trained by Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, took the honours.

Moore later said: "It doesn't happen very often, but we got to parade Estimate down past the crowd, past the stands, and the Queen's box is very central above the winning line. I remember being able to look up and tilt my hat to her and sort of say, 'Thank you', and you could see how excited she was."

Away from the track

There was no sport to rival racing in the Queen's affections, yet she was famously present for those historic wins by the England football team in 1966 and by Wade in a year of flag-waving pageantry.

Her presence added to the gravitas of those victories, indelible moments in which millions were already heavily invested.

The Queen would often send messages of congratulations or support to sporting figures at pivotal moments.

Recently, she told the England women's football team – the Lionesses – their home triumph at Euro 2022 would serve as "an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations".

In a message to England's men's European Championship finalists in July 2021, she told Gareth Southgate's team: "Fifty-five years ago I was fortunate to present the World Cup to Bobby Moore and saw what it meant to the players, management and support staff to reach and win the final of a major international football tournament."

The Queen's Wimbledon visit in 1977 did not give her the tennis bug, and she returned only once, in 2010, walking the grounds of the All England Club before settling down on Centre Court to watch Andy Murray beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

She met a host of tennis greats on that visit, including Roger Federer who described it as "a big honour".

Federer said: "After 33 years there is huge happiness that she should visit this year for the fans. I'm just so glad I got a chance to meet her."

In 2013, she sent Murray a private message when the Scot became Britain's first men's singles champion at Wimbledon for 77 years, while she also praised successes of teams including England's 2019 Cricket World Cup winners, and New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup conquerors. She also held a reception for the England team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

London's triumph, and a passion undimmed

The London Olympics was the biggest sporting event on home soil during her lifetime, and the Queen gamely took part in a James Bond comedy sketch alongside 007 actor Daniel Craig that was shown at the opening ceremony, pretending to show her jump from a helicopter and parachute into the Olympic Stadium.

She gave the speech that declared the Games open, and later saluted the efforts of those who made the 17 days of competition such a roaring success, declaring: "I offer my congratulations to the athletes of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, whose efforts across the range of Olympic disciplines have truly captured the public's imagination and earned their admiration."

Her granddaughter's medal success would have been one of the sweeter personal moments for the head of the Royal Family.

In her final years, the Queen's passion for equestrian sport remained undiminished, and one of her final public appearances came at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 2022.

It was there that her five-year-old grey dun mare Balmoral Leia won the Highland Class 64 event and was also awarded the overall mountain and moorland honour, a timely triumph in her owner's platinum jubilee year.

Ons Jabeur believes she can win a major title following her Wimbledon run to the final, having clinched a spot in the US Open semi-final with a straight-sets victory over Ajla Tomljanovic on Tuesday.

The world number five secured her spot in the last four in one hour and 41 minutes, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-4), having trailed 5-3 in the second set.

The win was Jabeur's 43rd this season, trailing only world number one Iga Swiatek, and comes after she lost to Elena Rybakina in July's Wimbledon decider, fueling her belief that she can secure a breakthrough grand slam title.

"I believe in myself after Wimbledon," Jabeur said during her an on-court interview. "I know that I have it in me to win a [major] final. And here I am in the semi-finals."

Jabeur had reached the quarterfinals at the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Wimbledon Championships, with her recent runner-up finish proving a breakthrough.

"I think the fact that I broke that barrier of being in the quarterfinals all the time, that did help with my confidence," she said.

"Knowing that I could make finals in grand slams really helped my game, just trying to build that experience to go into second weeks in grand slams.

"It was very tough coming here, you know, just the hard court season like wasn't that great for me. So I was trying to build more and more confidence on hard courts.

"Wimbledon helped a lot, for sure."

The 28-year-old Tunisian has made history several times, the latest being becoming the first African or Arab woman in the Open Era to reach the US Open semifinals.

On a personal level, she has now also reached the second week in all four major tournaments.

"I’m just trying to do my job here, hopefully I inspire more and more generations from Africa," Jabeur said. "It really means a lot to me."

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career looks to have drawn to a close after the American lost to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday. 

Following a long piece in Vogue last month, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the tournament at Flushing Meadows would be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

Though Williams left a glimmer of a chance that she may yet play again, joking that she "always did love Australia", she may well have taken to the court for the last time. Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and done?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she still had one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would have been the perfect farewell, but it was not to be. Will that near-miss encourage her to take one more shot in Court's homeland next year?

 

The finals hurdle

Had Williams managed to reach the championship match in Queens, she would have equalled another record.

She headed into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record is now set to remain hers for many, many years.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 541 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career looks to have drawn to a close after the American lost to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday. 

Following a long piece in Vogue last month, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the tournament at Flushing Meadows would be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

Though Williams left a glimmer of a chance that she may yet play again, joking that she "always did love Australia", she may well have taken to the court for the last time. Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and done?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she still had one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would have been the perfect farewell, but it was not to be. Will that near-miss encourage her to take one more shot in Court's homeland next year?

 

The finals hurdle

Had Williams managed to reach the championship match in Queens, she would have equalled another record.

She headed into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record is now set to remain hers for many, many years.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 541 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios declared he would welcome an early exit from the US Open ahead of his first-round match against Thanasi Kokkinakis, claiming he remains "exhausted" following his run to the Wimbledon final.

Kyrgios came close to clinching his first grand slam title when he met Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July, taking the opener but ultimately succumbing to defeat in four sets on Centre Court.

The enigmatic Australian, who has never gone beyond the third round of the US Open, will begin his final major campaign of the year against his compatriot and doubles partner Kokkinakis on Monday.

But the 27-year-old is not enamoured by the prospect of a deep run in New York, revealing he struggles with being away from his homeland while playing on the ATP Tour.

"A big part of me just wants the US Open to be over so I can go home," he said on Sunday.

"It's brutal not being able to have the normality of your own bed or your own family for so long and then you have to deal with all this.

"The media, the fans, the training, the matches, the pressure, especially on my spectrum as well – it's not normal. So it's hard. It's really hard.

"I'm definitely feeling very exhausted. Just after Wimbledon, I didn't even have time to enjoy it.

"Everyone gets to go home on the tour. They get to take a cheeky little flight back home to reset. There's just no other type of tennis player who really understands that [homesickness] apart from the Australians.

"Whether I win or lose, it's going to be the same for me. It's a win-win for me. If I win, it's more money and another great result. If I lose, I get to go home."

Asked what he had gained from his thrilling Wimbledon run, Kyrgios said: "The confidence in myself to be able to do it over two weeks. Staying in a single spot for two to three weeks can be exhausting. 

"To know that I can do that and go about things the right way and take every practice session, every recovery session, the right way, it's confidence in the back of my mind. 

"But also, I'm the type of player that if I had won Wimbledon, I probably wouldn't have played the US Open."

Meanwhile, the US Open is set to mark a final grand slam appearance for legendary 23-time major singles champion Serena Williams, and Kyrgios believes she deserves to be considered the greatest player in the sport's history.

"Obviously it's a very special moment for her. She's probably the greatest of all time," he added.

"Whether or not we see anyone live the career that she has? I don't think that's possible."

Jordan. Ali. Woods. Williams. That's it, that's the company.

Serena Williams is about to draw the curtain on one of the great sporting careers.

A brilliant black sports star excelling on a global stage, she has shifted and shaped opinions over the past 25 years.

Her life has been touched by tragedy as well as great joy, and she has just about lived to tell the tale.

As she prepares for her final US Open, Stats Perform looks back at the obstacles that have been put in front of the 23-time grand slam champion. 

Racism since her early days

After learning the game in Compton, Williams and sister Venus endured plenty of outrageous treatment before a notorious incident in 2001 at Indian Wells.

Russian Elena Dementieva reacted to a quarter-final defeat to Venus by saying the semi-final between the sisters would be determined by their father, Richard. That baseless allegation of manipulation was followed by an injured Venus withdrawing from the match against Serena shortly before its start time.

Serena met Kim Clijsters in the final, and there were grim jeers for Venus and Richard when both took their grandstand seats. They and Serena copped brutal treatment from spectators, with Richard stating he was racially abused.

Serena beat Clijsters but did not play at Indian Wells again until 2015, recalling her memories of 2001 in an article for Time, explaining it had "haunted" the family, particularly her father.

She wrote: "He dedicated his whole life to prepping us for this incredible journey, and there he had to sit and watch his daughter being taunted, sparking cold memories of his experiences growing up in the South."

Williams told Sirius XM in February 2021: "I had to make people realise that it's okay to be black and to play tennis."

Sexism never far away

Williams considered causing a scene at Wimbledon in 2011 after being sent out to the distant Court Two to play a second-round match.

It seemed a bizarre move – probably just ignorant – to put the defending women's champion anywhere but Centre or Court One, and while she was reluctant to fully vent her frustration, it was obvious enough.

Seemingly pointing a finger at those in power, Williams said: "They're not going to change."

An angry Williams accused chair umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism in a stormy 2018 US Open final, when she lost to Naomi Osaka.

Williams was warned for receiving coaching on court, which she denied, then penalised a point for racket abuse, before being docked a game after accusing Ramos of being "a thief".

"I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff," Williams said afterwards. "For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief'."

Williams was fined $17,000 by tournament chiefs but backed by the WTA, which runs the women's tour outside the slams.

Perilous childbirth

In February 2018, Williams wrote an article for CNN that began with the line: "I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia."

She wrote of having had "a pretty easy pregnancy" and a routine C-section in August 2017, only for that to be followed by a pulmonary embolism and "a slew of health complications" she was "lucky to have survived", including a large hematoma in her abdomen. Her first six weeks as a mother were spent in bed.

Sister's death

It was September 2003, shortly after Williams underwent knee surgery that forced her out of the US Open, that her sister Yetunde Price was shot and killed in Compton.

Price was 31, with a local gangster sentenced to 15 years for voluntary manslaughter.

Williams addressed court after the April 2006 sentencing of Price's killer, saying she had "wanted to let you know that this was unfair to our family, and our family has always been positive and we always try to help people".

In 2018, Williams was trounced 6-1 6-0 by British player Johanna Konta at the Silicon Valley Classic. She came onto court moments after learning the man who shot her sister dead had been freed from prison, and later told Time: "I couldn't shake it out of my mind."

Walking on broken glass

It's an idiom, and an Annie Lennox song, but walking on broken glass was almost the moment that ended Williams' career.

It could have been a case of unlucky 13 for Williams in July 2010 when within days of winning her 13th grand slam title she suffered a foot injury, and later revealed it had been caused by stepping on glass while leaving a Munich restaurant.

She told USA Today: "I was standing, recovering, thinking I got a little cut and telling my nephew, who was with us, to be careful. Then my practice partner put a cellphone down to the floor so we could see, and there was a huge puddle of blood. I said, 'OMG, I don't think this is good'."

She needed both feet stitching up and underwent surgery to fix a drooping big toe, missing almost a full year on tour. Early in 2011 she underwent treatment for a pulmonary embolism and blood clot in her lungs, after checks were carried out during her recovery.

Chasing Court

Margaret Court has been the figure Williams has chased but looks destined to fall short of, with the Australian set to remain tantalisingly out of reach.

Four final losses for Williams since landing her 23rd major have been increasingly agonising, and it has been clear that her primary motivation for playing on all this time has been to surpass Court.

Court's controversial views on the LGBTQ community have upset many in tennis. Williams, however, just wanted to finish top of the pile, regardless of who was presently leading the way in the grand slam race.

Barring a sporting near-miracle over the US Open fortnight, she will remain second in that race, albeit the grand slam leader in the Open Era – winner of the most titles since the majors embraced professionalism in 1968.

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