Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been rivals and friends all these years. The final matches with them on either side of the court had been the tensest matches ever. On Friday, Roger and Rafael stood together on the same side of the net as they were defeated by Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the Laver Cup. The brings an end to one of the greatest ever sporting careers.
Roger Federer earlier announced he is retiring from Tennis and his final match would be at the Laver Cup. After the match point, Federer spoke to Jim Courier on the court, ‘I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time … the match was great. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful. And of course, playing with Rafa on the same team and having the guys – everybody here, all the legends – thank you.’
Roger Federer paid a tearful tribute to his wife Mirka, saying, ‘She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play. It’s amazing. Thank you.’
From the team bench, Novak Djokovic recorded the tribute video to his two great rivals.
As the match came to an end, Federer finally broke and he began to cry. Nadal also broke down into tears and wept alongside him throughout. Federer left the court with his family in tears after hugging his teammates and formal rivals a number of times.
Federer said, ‘The last two days have been tough, to say the least. Thankfully in moments I totally forgot about it, slept great, everything was wonderful, I could enjoy it, I feel. And because of that, I think I will be able to have a better recollection of how it went. Because if it’s all just stress throughout and I want it to be only perfect, I know I will remember half of it. Because I felt the way I felt, I feel like I have dealt with my retirement strongly for the last month.’
Nadal said, ‘When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving too because of all the moments that he has been next or in front me in important moments of my life. So I have been emotional to see the family, see all the people. Difficult to describe, but an amazing moment.’