Paris Saint-Germain superstar Leo Messi described Roger Federer as "a genius" and hailed him as a unique player in tennis history. On Thursday, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer announced his plans to retire after the Laver Cup.
Messi, who is widely considered as one of the greatest football players ever, says he will miss seeing Federer on tennis courts. “A genius, unique in the history of tennis and an example for any athlete. The best in your new stage, we will miss seeing you on the court making us enjoy, @rogerfederer," Messi wrote on Instagram.
Federer's childhood dream became a reality
In a retirement message posted on Thursday, Federer reflected on his tennis journey and how he went from dreaming of being a tennis player to accomplishing all of his tennis dreams.
Federer, who was once a little kid from Basel, is now set to go down as one of the greatest athletes in all sports history. "When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder.
They were like giants to me and I began to dream. My dreams led me to work harder and I started to believe in myself. Some success brought me confidence and I was on my way to the most amazing journey that has led to this day.
So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true. Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you," Federer said.
The Laver Cup takes place next weekend in London. Federer's old rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, are also expected to play.