Roger Federer retirement: Nadal, Serena and Messi pay tribute to tennis superstar

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, announced on Thursday that he would retire after the Laver Cup this month

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Roger Federer's decision to retire from professional tennis has provoked an emotional reaction from current and former players as well as stars in other sports.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, announced on Thursday that he would retire after the Laver Cup this month.

Only Federer's two great rivals Rafael Nadal of Spain (22) and Serbia's Novak Djokovic (21) have more men's Grand Slam singles titles than the 41-year-old Swiss

Here are some of the tributes paid to the tennis superstar:

Rafael Nadal on Twitter:

"Dear Roger, my friend and rival, I wish this day would never have come. It's been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court."

Juan Martin del Potro, who retired earlier this year

"I LOVE YOU, Roger. Thank you for everything you've done in tennis and with myself. Tennis world will never be the same without you."

New world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz:

"Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! Wish you all the luck in the world for what comes next!"

American prodigy Coco Gauff:

"Thank you for elevating the game in so many ways on and off the court. 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."

Twenty-three time women's Grand Slam champion Serena Williams:

"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest - perfectly done, just like your career. I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people - including me - and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club."

Billie Jean King

"Roger Federer is a champion’s champion. He has the most complete game of his generation & captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with an amazing quickness on the court & a powerful tennis mind. He has had a historic career w/memories that will live on and on."

Wimbledon, where Federer is a men's record eight-time champion:

"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."

Football superstart Lionel Messi:

"A genius, unique in tennis history and a role model for any sportsman. I wish you the best in your new stage, we will miss seeing you on the court."

Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar:

"What a career. We fell in love with your brand of tennis. Slowly, your tennis became a habit. And habits never retire, they become a part of us."

Updated: September 16, 2022, 5:28 AM