Tennis star Coco with Tennis Legend, Roger.

By: Lamin Drammeh 

American tennis star Coco Gauff has written a heartfelt tribute to tennis legend Roger Federer who has announced his retirement from professional tennis after 24 years of an active career marked by spectacular highs.

The 41-year-old Federer, born to a Swiss father and a South African mother in Basel, Switzerland, in 1981, broke the news of his retirement amidst global emotional reactions from people from all walks of life. He said the Laver cup in England next week will be his final competitive match, ending a hugely successful career matched only by his biggest competitors and sometimes fierce rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“I’ve worked hard to return to competitive form, but I also know my body’s capacity and limits, and its message to me lately has been obvious. I’m 41 years old. I’ve played more than 1500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career,” Roger told his fans in an emotional letter on Instagram on Thursday.

To honor the impact of a phenomenal career he leaves behind, World No.8 Coco Gauff posted a photo of herself alongside Roger Federer, joining the likes of Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal in expressing admiration for one of the game’s most beloved people on the planet.

“Thank you, Roger Federer, for elevating the game on and off the court in so many ways. Thank you for all the advice you’ve given me over the years. Thank you for being the best role model for so many. Thank you for everything, the goat,” says 18-year-old Gauff, a rising superstar riding on an incredible tennis career that saw her become the youngest woman to debut in the Top 10 since 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova in 2006. Gauff reached her first grand slam final at the French Open in June this year, defeating Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 to become the youngest grand slam finalist since Maria Sharapova in 2004. Currently, she’s the number one doubles player in the world.

However, this is not the first time Coco expressed his love and admiration for Federer. She had made no secret of her desire to follow in the footsteps of eight-time Wimbledon champion, saying, “he ( referring to Roger) definitely has a big influence on my mentality on and off the court. He’s always someone I can talk to if I need advice. He’s such a class act and someone that I looked up to. So it’s super nice that I can open up to him if that’s the right terminology I use. Hopefully, if I keep opening up to him, we can keep winning [until] the end.”

Coco, who has risen to a new career-high world ranking of No.8 following her impressive run to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open two weeks ago, has a personal connection with Roger Federer’s agency “dubbed” Team8, a company established by the veteran tennis star and his agent, Tony Godsick.

 

Also, Coco’s endorsement portfolio, along with apparel and footwear maker New Balance and racket manufacturer Head, includes pasta maker Barilla, are longtime backers of Federer, a further indication of her close ties to the legendary Roger Federer.

In addition to his 20 grand slam singles titles, the Swiss champion holds the professional tennis record for the most consecutive weeks at World No.1 and the record for the oldest player to rank No.1 in the world aged 36, an extraordinary feat he achieved after winning the Australian Open in 2018.

But injuries and surgeries over the last 3 years have taken their toll on the former French Open champion. Federer’s final competitive match at a grand slam was at the 2021 Wimbledon, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz.

He may not have won more grand slam titles like his contemporaries; Rafael Nadal (record number 22) and Novak Djokovic (2nd highest 21). However, the iconic superstar Federer is leaving his mark more than he’s done on the court. He’s undoubtedly one of the most recognizable athletes and has handled himself with charisma, grace, elegance, honor, and professionalism throughout his glittering career. In addition, Federer has had massive success in earnings, amassing a staggering $1 billion during his career from prize money, endorsements, and appearance fees since he turned pro in 1998.

He will leave behind incredible memories of winning; the Australian Open six times, the French Open once, the U.S. Open five times in a row, and a record eight Wimbledon titles– the most in history.

He also won 103 ATP titles -the second most in the Open era behind only Jimmy Connors – a record six ATP finals, the Davis Cup, and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in the men’s doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here