Just a month after tennis legend Serena Williams’ final match, another tennis legend has decided to hang up his racket for good. This time it’s Roger Federer.
There have been few tennis players that could match the star at his peak. In his 24 years, he won a staggering 20 Grand Slam Singles titles (the third most of all time). The breakdown of his wins are quite spread out, with six at the Australian Open, one at the French Open, five at the U.S. Opens, and eight at Wimbledon. On top of that, he ranked No. 1 in tennis for 310 weeks, and from 2004 to 2008, and he was ranked at No. 1 an astonishing 237 weeks in a row, a record that is highly unlikely ever to be passed. The next closest player to his streak is Jimmy Connors, who, from 1974 to 1978, was ranked No. 1 for 160 weeks.
Federer had two major rivals throughout his career, one of them being Novak Djokovic. Throughout their 50 matches, Djokovic holds a slight lead at 27-23 but holds a larger lead in the finals at 13-6. Their rivalry holds a distinct honor with both of them being the only ones to be able to defeat each other in all four majors. Their last match was in the 2020 Australian Open where Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.
While Federer might have a big rivalry with Djokovic, it is nothing compared to the rivalry he has with Spanish star Rafael Nadal. When it comes to sports rivalries, not many rivalries can compare to Federer vs. Nadal. In their 40 matchups against each other, Nadal leads the rivalry 24-16 overall, including 14-10 in the finals. From July 2005 to August 2009, they shared the record for most consecutive weeks, with one of them ranking number one and the other ranking No. 2 for 211 weeks, which still is the record.
No matchup between the greats compares to their meeting in the 2008 Wimbledon finals. This match will go down in history as one of the greatest tennis matches we have ever seen. Coming into the match, Federer was looking to win his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title while Nadal was looking to win his first. In a match that lasted for four hours and 48 minutes, Nadal was able to upset Federer 9-7 in the fifth set. Later that year, Nadal won the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics and, afterward, ended Federer’s streak.
Fittingly, Federer’s final career match was a doubles match with his long-time rival Nadal, where the two teamed up in doubles for the first time in their entire careers in the Laver Cup. Sadly, Federer was not able to go out on top alongside his rival as they fell to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-7, (2), 11-9.
Now with two of the biggest tennis stars in the world retiring, it will be interesting to see who replaces them. With both Djokovic and Nadal on the decline in their careers, we will see who becomes the new face of tennis. As of now, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is a name to watch out for as he is already dominating and is still very young. But it will be hard for anybody to be able to match up to what these two stars did in their careers, as both Williams and Federer hold records that are unlikely ever to be broken.