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It’s the end of an era in tennis.
Roger Federer played his final match on Friday night at the Laver Cup in London, losing a doubles match to Rafael Nadal as part of the European squad.
The two legends teamed up against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, who beat them, 4-7, 7-6, 11-9.
Federer and Nadal both shed tears as the crowd gave the former an enthusiastic ovation and he said “Thank you”.
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“It was a perfect trip,” Federer said after the game. “I would do it all over again.”
The 41-year-old announced his retirement last week, citing injuries over the past few years which have slowed him down.
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“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” Federer said. “I’ve worked hard to get back to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capabilities and limitations, and his message to me lately has been clear. I’m 41. I’ve played more than 1,500 matches in 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever dreamed of, and now I have to recognize when it’s time to end my competitive career.”
Federer spoke with the crowd after the game, taking it all in one last time.
“It was a wonderful day. I told the guys I was happy, I’m not sad. It’s great to be here. I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last times,” he said.
The European team is lucky to have the three best Grand Slam winners together: Federer, Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21).
“It was wonderful. And, of course, playing with Rafa in the same team and having the guys, everyone here, all the legends… It’s amazing. It really is,” Federer said. .
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“It feels like a celebration to me,” he added. “I wanted it to look like this in the end, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for.”
Federer has spent 310 weeks as the highest ranked tennis player in the world and is retiring with 20 Grand Slam titles, the third of all time. His titles: eight Wimbledons, six Australian Opens, five US Opens and one Roland-Garros.