From the little boy in Basel, to the big player. Roger Federer's inspirational farewell speech

From the little boy in Basel, to the big player. Roger Federer's

Roger Federer announced his retirement from professional tennis yesterday. Through an audio message, which you can read in full below, he thanked his colleagues, family and explained the reasons why he is retiring.

"Of all the good that tennis has given me all these years, the best has been the people I have met along the way: friends, opponents and above all the fans who give life to the sport. Today, I want to share some news with you all. As many of you know, the last three years I have had many challenges, such as injuries and surgeries. I worked hard to get back in top shape for the competitions. But I also know my body's capacities and limits, and its (body's) message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I played more than 1500 games over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I could have ever dreamed, and now I have to figure out when it's time to end my career.

I will continue to play tennis in the future, but only that I will not be in the Grand Slams or other tournaments. This is a bit of sad news as I will miss every thrill the tournament has given me. Of those, there are many reasons to be happy. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. I was fortunate to have talent in tennis and played at levels I never dreamed possible.

I take the opportunity to especially thank my wonderful wife Mirka, who has experienced every second with me. She calmed me down before every final, watched every match, even when she was 8 months pregnant.

I also want to thank my 4 children for their support. I look forward to visiting wonderful places and making memories with them.

Watching my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

I also want to thank my loving parents and my sister without whom nothing would have been possible.

When my love for tennis was born, I was a little kid in Basel watching the great players on TV. To me they were giants. There I started to dream. Dreams encouraged me to work hard and believe in myself."