Roger Federer caps off a Year of Major Tennis Retirements in 2022

Roger Federer Serena Williams

With the news that Roger Federer will be retiring after playing in the Laver Cup next week, the sporting world reflects on his legendary career. From the delightful one-handed backhand, to his 103 singles titles (including 20 famous grand slam wins), the Swiss superstar has provided us with many memories over his illustrious 24-year career.

However, he is not the only tennis player to put down his racket this year, with many other huge names saying goodbye to the sport in 2022.

Roger Federer, Serena Williams Cap Year of Major Retirements

Serena Williams

When you think of tennis, one of the first names you think of is Serena Williams. The American has led the way, alongside her older sister Venus, for women’s tennis in the 21st century and has become a trailblazer, both on and off the court.

Serena has broken record after record, winning 23 Grand Slam titles (more than anyone else in the Open Era), and being the only player to have achieved a career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles, as well as having many other accomplishments.

At the age of 40, she decided that the 2022 US Open would be her last ever tournament. Williams had not looked herself in the lead up events, but proved in New York that class is permanent. She eventually dropped out in the third round to the resilient Ajla Tomljanovic, leaving a huge void in women’s tennis.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was part of an exciting group of French players to come through in the early 2000’s, featuring Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, and Gilles Simon (who is also planning to retire at the end of the year). Tsonga was always a fan favourite, due to his exciting brand of tennis and infectious personality.

He almost fulfilled the destiny of winning a Grand Slam title in Melbourne in 2008, but fell short to none other than Novak Djokovic in a four set encounter. This does not take away the wonderful career he had, winning 18 singles titles, including two Masters 1000 events, and was also part of France’s winning teams in both the Davis and Hopman Cups.

Tsonga said “au revoir” to tennis earlier this year at his home Major in Paris, receiving a wonderful tribute from his close friends, family and colleagues.

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Ashleigh Barty

The retirements discussed above were all not that surprising, due to the amount of years Federer, Williams, and Tsonga had spent in the sport. But, no one was expecting the World #1 and reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Ash Barty to leave tennis, at the age of only 25.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Barty mentioned how she felt “fulfilled” and that she had nothing left to give to the sport, as she ventured off to a new chapter in her life. It is fair to say that tennis fans are gutted that a potential rivalry between Barty and her successor, Iga Swiatek, never took off. There is still time, though.

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Kevin Anderson

South African tennis has been sparse of stars over the years, but the 6ft8 giant in Kevin Anderson provided them with some great moments in his 15-year career. Anderson won seven ATP titles, and made it to the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open, being beaten by Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, respectively.

Anderson was known for utilizing his physique to the maximum and amounted to a lot more than many would have expected, reaching a career high of #5 in the world.

This was put on show in his 2018 Wimbledon semi-final with John Isner, where the two big servers slogged it out for six hour and 36 minutes, with Anderson winning by a remarkable 26-24 in the fifth set. This is still the second longest grand slam match in history.

The South African left the sport in May earlier this year.

Monica Puig

Sport provides us with many amazing stories, but Monica Puig’s run to the Olympic gold medal in 2016 may surpass any other. Puig was unseeded and beat Polona Hercog, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbine Muguruza, Laura Siegemund, Petra Kvitova, and Angelique Kerber to create a fairy tale moment in Rio.

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By doing so she became the first Puerto Rican athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics, and the first unseeded player to win gold since tennis was reintroduced to the games in 1988.

Injuries plagued Puig’s career after that golden moment in 2016, forcing her to retire after trying to make a comeback this year, but no-one will ever be able to take that incredible time away from her.

It has become the year of retirement in tennis in 2022, with so many stories and moments to look back on. Not to forget others who will also be leaving us including Andrea Petkovic and Tommy Robredo, to name a couple. There will never be another Roger Federer or Serena Williams, but the stars of today will certainly be looking to create a similar legacy.

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