Roger Federer to discuss his retirement on Wednesday

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LONDON — In Roger Federer’s case, the farewell news conference will come before the beginning of what he’s said will be the last competitive tennis event of his career.

Federer is in London and has been practicing ahead of the Laver Cup, an event founded by his management team that begins Friday with the fifth edition of its Team Europe vs. Team World format.

The main rivals whose careers overlapped with Federer’s – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – also are participating.

Before the Laver Cup starts, Federer will meet with the media Wednesday morning to discuss walking away from tournament tennis at age 41 after a career that began in the 1990s, lasted until the 2020s and included 20 Grand Slam championships, 83 titles at other tournaments and hundreds of weeks at No. 1 in the rankings.

He is bidding adieu shortly after Serena Williams played what is expected to be the last match of her career at the U.S. Open, signaling a significant shift for a sport they both transcended for decades.

Williams told the world of her plans to stop playing via a magazine article, then did not hold a news conference until after her first match at Flushing Meadows; the 23-time Grand Slam champion made it to the third round there before losing to Ajla Tomljanovic.

Federer last played a match at Wimbledon in 2021, when he lost in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz. Shortly after that, Federer had surgery on his right knee for the third time in a span of about 1 1/2 years.

The Swiss star had hoped to play at Basel in his home country next month and had suggested he might be able to enter Wimbledon one last time next year. But recovery and rehabilitation of his knee became too much.

He called his retirement a “bittersweet decision” when he announced it last week via social media. Wednesday offers a chance to hear more about what went into that choice and what Federer might have in mind for the future.

His tweet concluded: “Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.” That would bode well for those fans of Federer’s who hope to see him continue to hold a role in the sport – and would bode well for the sport, too.

Djokovic wrote on Instagram after Federer revealed he’d be retiring that it was “hard to see this day and put into words all that we’ve shared in this sport together.”

It’s unclear just how much Federer actually will participate in the Laver Cup. There are singles and doubles matches across the three days, and his agent said Federer definitely will play.

Back in February, when word emerged that Federer would be in London, he said Nadal messaged him last year suggesting they play doubles together again. They teamed up to win a doubles match during the first Laver Cup in 2017.

“If we’re able to possibly share the court one more time as a doubles pairing,” Nadal said at the time, “then this would be a truly special experience for us both at this stage in our careers.”

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.