OREANDA-NEWS Swiss icon Roger Federer has announced his retirement from tennis, confirming the news to fans in a statement published on social media on Thursday afternoon.

The 41-year-old has been out of action since Wimbledon last year after nursing lingering injury problems. 

Previously preparing a possible autumn comeback after undergoing a third knee surgery in 18 months, those plans have now been scrapped with the modern-day great following in the footsteps of fellow legend Serena Williams, who recently stepped down after the US Open.

Federer said he will play next week’s Laver Cup in London, but that it will be his final ATP event.

Boasting an impressive 20 Grand Slam wins, Federer is the first of the 'Big Three' to bow out with generational rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continuing to compete.

Announcing the end of an illustrious 24-year career where he claims to have taken in more than 1,500 matches, Federer said that he knew his "body’s capacities and limits" and must now "recognize when it is time" to call it a day.

"This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me," Federer admitted.

"But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth."

Federer signed off by addressing the game of tennis and vowed: "I love you and will never leave you."

Cementing a legacy that has seen him compared to the likes of boxing icon Muhammad Ali and basketball behemoth Michael Jordan, Federer exits his sport in a professional capacity while holding the record for the most consecutive weeks at number one and as the oldest player to ever occupy the top spot at 36 years of age in 2018.

Before Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21) overtook him, he was also tennis' leading Grand Slams winner with his haul consisting of six Australian open titles, a single French Open crown, a record eight Wimbledon triumphs, and five US Open victories.

Furthermore, Federer scooped a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012 when he lost in the final to Andy Murray but claimed gold four years earlier in Beijing in doubles.