The 41-year-old has struggled in recent years with knee injuries and will end his historic career after next week Cup of the tank in London.
Prominent French sports newspaper L’Equipe, in a nod to the death last week of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, ran the headline ‘God Save the King’ with a photo of Federer gazing pensively at the sky.
“His whole game was borderline art and sublime,” L’Equipe said, wondering if he was the greatest sportsman of all time, up there with Pele, Muhammad Ali, Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan.
Spaniard El Pais said Federer’s announcement was no surprise but ‘that doesn’t make it any less painful’.
But British tabloid The Sun called Federer’s retirement a shock and called his 20 Grand Slam titles “outrageous”.
“Federer has been badly hampered by injuries in recent seasons,” the newspaper notes.
The BBC said the tennis ace “has achieved sporting perfection”.
On his website, he recalled a quote from Federer’s rival Novak Djokovic: “You have to wonder if he’s from the same planet.”
“With a graceful forehand, a precise serve or a gentle wave to the crowd, the Swiss legend won fans like no one before him,” said the BBC.
Federer’s impending exit, which quickly follows that of tennis legend Serena Williams, has also grabbed headlines further afield.
In China, The Paper in Shanghai recalled how Federer once called the city “like a second home” and praised him for his long-time support of the Masters tournament there.
He was a two-time Shanghai title winner and always the star attraction no matter who else was playing.
The newspaper called Federer “an old friend of the people of Shanghai” and told how he once rode the subway in the city, paid for the ticket himself and chatted with an elderly man.
In New Delhi, the headline of the Times of India read: “The day the music stopped”.
“The world’s love affair with Roger Federer is coming to an end, but as always, it’s on his terms,” TOI continued on Friday.
Indian Express said Federer was ‘not a super-athlete but (was) a real modern-day sports great’.
He said the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz, the new US Open champion and world number one at just 19, coupled with Federer’s retirement, was a “turning point”.
The New York Times noted how Federer went from a “teen Swiss racquet thrower” to “one of the finest athletes in the world”.
Rafael Nadal and Djokovic may have won more Grand Slams – 22 and 21 respectively – but The Times said neither did so with Federer’s grace.
“It did not move so much as it sank,” the newspaper said.
“Federer…has touched tennis fans around the world for over 20 years with his shots and class on and off the court,” he concluded.