After their last match on the same court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal let their emotions out.
After their last match on the same court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal let their emotions out. Photograph by Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Pair defeated 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9 by Jack Sock & Frances Tiafoe
After Federer’s final game, players at Laver Cup pay tribute
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been successful in every way over the past decade. They have fought in the finals at the most important tournaments all over the globe and have always brought out the best of themselves, even when it was the most difficult. Their rivalry and the frenetic popularity it generated has been a key factor in the development of men’s tennis.
They could not have imagined the emotions they felt on Friday. After 40 intense, pressure-filled matches against one another, it was strange that the best moments in Federer’s career were often the worst. However, they stood together as they lost 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9 to Team World’s Jack Sock, Frances Tiafoe and Frances Tiafoe at Friday’s Laver Cup. It was the end of one of the most memorable sporting careers.
Roger Federer makes emotional farewell after defeat in final doubles match – live
Jim Courier spoke with Federer on court after match point. “I enjoyed tying up my shoes once more… it was great. I could not be happier. It’s been wonderful. It was great to play with Rafa in the same team. And the guys, everyone here, all the legends, thank you.
Federer, after reflecting on his “perfect journey”, paid a touching tribute to Mirka. Federer said, “She could have stopped my career a long time ago, but that she didn’t. She kept me going, and let me play. It’s amazing. We are grateful.
The evening was full of emotion from the beginning. Federer and Nadal were greeted by a standing ovation from the 17,500-capacity crowd at the O2 Arena.
Novak Djokovic, from their team bench, pulled out his smartphone to record the match as he supported his great rivals. During the first change in ends, a tribute video was broadcast inside the stadium, with contributions by Lynette Federer, Nadal and other players.
Team Europe and Team World members raise Roger Federer high as they celebrate his accomplishments after his last competitive tennis match.
Federer had not played for 14 months after his Wimbledon defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth set. He also underwent knee surgery.
He did a great job. Federer could not move at his full speed but his hands were still delicate. Federer’s first touch of the evening was a solid forehand volley win. It set the tone. Federer won the first set after serving well and being neat at the net during the first set. He then took the lead and won the second set with a winning forehand.
There was also much joy. Even though they were fighting for one last win, there was plenty of laughter and jokes between Federer and Nadal. Murray and Djokovic, who were the only players qualified for tactical advice to the pair, often joined in their discussions during changeovers.
Federer’s legendary career came to an abrupt halt when a flat tiebreak occurred at the end of a second set. They were then forced into a match tiebreak. They lost despite an initial surge and then a match-point at 9-8 Federer’s serve, but they were able to settle for defeat.
Federer lost his composure as the match was over. Nadal, who was also beginning to weep after Federer began to break down, accompanied him through the match. Federer hugged his former rivals and teammates many times during the ceremony before finally joining his tears-soaked family as he left court.
After his last competitive match, Roger Federer is emotional and thanks the crowd for their applause.
Federer said that the last two days had been difficult to say the very least in his post-match press conference. Federer said, “Thankfully, in moments, I completely forgot about it, slept fantastic, everything was great, I could enjoy it. Because of this, I believe I will have a better memory of the event.
“Because it’s all stress and I want it to be perfect, I know half of it will stick with me. Since I felt how I felt, I feel like my retirement has been handled well for the past month.
Nadal’s career is defined by his ability and determination to reach great heights, but he later revealed how difficult that night was for him. He stated that he came to the court shaking, and that he had committed a double fault in the first match point.
Nadal stated, “When Roger leaves tour, an important portion of my life will be gone too because of all of the moments that were next to me or in front of me in important moments in my life.” “So it was very emotional to see my family and all the people. It was difficult to describe, but an amazing moment,” Nadal said.
There is no perfect way to say goodbye. After 14 months of trying to be a full-time player, Federer was physically and mentally compromised. He later stated that he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to play doubles again. It didn’t matter at the end. He has already done so much for the sport and himself, and he is 41 years old.
Federer said, “I was able always to remind myself again on the court how wonderful this is.” Federer said, “This isn’t the end-all – life continues.” I am healthy, happy, everything is great, this is just a brief moment in time.
Federer is a master of tennis, playing with grace and style. He has also complemented his ease with grit, which is something that is rarely mentioned but crucial to his success.
His presence will be felt throughout the tour. His presence will continue to be felt, whether it’s through his fans or the many players who became weak-kneed supporters in his absence.
Many people have attempted to learn from his greatness to be successful. His influence on other players cannot be denied. There will never be another like him.