Federer Plays Final Match With Nadal By His Side | ATP Tour

As the world watched, the curtain fell on Roger Federer’s historic career on Friday night at the Laver Cup. In front of an electric crowd, the Swiss maestro teamed up with longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal to strike his final blows at London’s O2.

The former world No. 1 looked sharp around the net and threw his groundstrokes seemingly effortlessly across the pitch throughout the two-hour, 16-minute clash. However, he was ultimately unable to claim the 1382nd win of his career in singles and doubles, falling to World Team pair Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

The Americans rallied from a set down to defeat their legendary opponents 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9, tying the Laver Cup at 2-2 after day one.

“We’re going to get out of this one way or another, aren’t we?” Federer said in a broken voice during his on-court interview. “I’m happy, I’m not sad. It’s great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes once more. Everything was last time. The game was great, I couldn’t be happier . It was wonderful.”

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Federer was overwhelmed with emotion immediately after the game, hugging his teammate Nadal and waving to the crowd as he embraced the roar of his fans for the last time.

The Swiss star then made his way to his chair for the last time, where he stood alongside his teammates and waved to the packed crowd. Federer couldn’t contain his emotion as he addressed the arena during his on-court interview, breaking down in tears as he shared his final words of thanks and gratitude to his family, team and his supporters.

“Playing with Rafa in the same team and having the guys, everyone here, all the legends – Rocket, Edberg, Stefan – thank you,” said Federer, who was joined on the pitch by his parents, wife Mirka and their four children. . “I didn’t want him to feel lonely there. I felt lonely for a second when they told me to get out… but to say goodbye to a team, I always felt like I was a team player at heart. I don’t really do that, but I had a team that traveled with me around the world. It was amazing with them, so thank you to everyone who kept it going for so many years.

“And then of course being in the team with Andy, Thomas, Novak, Matteo, Cam, Stefanos, Rafa and Casper…and also the other team, you guys are amazing. It was a pleasure to play all those Laver Cups .

“It feels like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this at the end, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for, so thank you.”

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The former world number 1 is leaving the sport like a legend. He won 103 tour-level titles and spent 310 weeks at No. 1 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings. Federer first faced Nadal in 2004 at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami. They have faced each other 39 more times over the years, facing each other in 24 finals.

After building a special relationship, it was only fitting that Federer would end his career alongside the Spaniard, with ‘Big Four’ stars Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray cheering them on from the sidelines. His parents, wife Mirka and children were also watching the court.

“We have to go? he joked when asked about his family. “I’ve done well so far. I’m at least able to speak. In my vision, I’ve never been able to speak, so I’m much better.

“My wife has been so supportive of me. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She allowed me to keep going and playing. It’s amazing. Thank you. “

In an entertaining match, Federer and Nadal were in good spirits throughout, smiling and entertaining the crowd with their dynamic shooting. In the third game of the first set, the Swiss star fired a forehand through a gap in the net. Although Team World got the point, the Swiss-Spanish tandem shared a smile as they made their way back to the baseline.

With the crowd roaring at them, Federer and Nadal played with freedom, matching the intensity of the Americans in a series of all-court rallies to win the first set. After Sock and Tiafoe won the second set, a tie-break match was left to decide Federer’s final clash. With the crowd on their feet, it was the Americans who found a way, saving a match point at 8/9 to edge out a thrilling tie-break.

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