On Friday night at the Laver Cup, Roger Federer lost his last match of his career and bid tennis adieu.
This tennis legend from Switzerland, who only last week announced his impending retirement, partnered with Rafael Nadal to take on American teammates Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the first doubles round of the competition.
Tiafoe and Sock prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), and 11-9.
Despite the loss, Federer, 41, shed happy emotions as the evening and his career came to a conclusion.
Soon after a video of his career highlights had shown at the O2 Arena, Federer gave an on-court interview and said, “It’s been a beautiful day.” “I assured the boys that I am not depressed. Being here feels wonderful.”
Added him: “I do get the impression that it’s a holiday. At the conclusion, this is precisely how I wanted to feel, so thank you.
“I would travel the same route again; it has been excellent.”
Before Friday, Federer hadn’t participated in a competitive tennis match in almost a year. He last played on a court at Wimbledon in 2021, after which he had a third operation on his right knee. The previous year, he had two surgeries on the same knee.
Federer said while announcing his retirement that he made the decision to pay attention to his “body’s message.”
Even though he struggled against Sock and Tiafoe, the seasoned actor nonetheless dazzled the audience with his elegant nonchalance and a highlight reel of his signature shots.
In the opening set, he had a particularly magical moment when he managed to squeeze a shot through the little space between the net and the net post.
Federer said, “I relished tying my shoelaces one more time, everything was the final time. “The match was wonderful, I got it through, and I couldn’t be happier,” she said, “even though I did worry maybe something was going to go, like a calf or a back.”
The very best of pals
Nadal was Federer’s main competition for the most of his career.
The two have faced off 40 times on the court throughout the years, with Federer winning 16 and Nadal 24 times. Ten of those encounters took place in Grand Slam finals, when Nadal once again won six times against Federer’s three.
They won 21 of the 24 Grand Slams that could be won between 2005 and 2010, during the height of their joint supremacy of the men’s game.
Federer and Nadal have, however, also been excellent friends in addition to being fierce opponents. The two often have supper together and are familiar with one another’s families.
Federer called it “wonderful” to conclude his career with the person who has supported him through every stage, whether as a friend or an opponent.
A proper parting
Throughout his career, Federer has exuded elegance on and off the tennis court.
He has not only gained the adoration of tennis fans with his graceful and fluid style of play, but also with his modest and kind personality.
Earlier this year, John McEnroe told reporters that Roger Federer was “a living icon.” “He embodies everything you would want your child to become in the future.
He is the most attractive athlete I have ever seen play.
About Federer, Andy Roddick famously remarked: “He really exists. He is not a mystery. He’s not trying to be someone else off the field. You wouldn’t realise he was one of the top athletes in the world if you ran into him at McDonald’s without knowing who he was.”
Even though Federer may not have envisioned a Grand Slam-winning send-off, Friday turned out to be a fitting departure.
Federer was as modest as usual on a day when he might have easily and rightfully lost himself in his own world.
Before his own match, he cheered for his colleague Andy Murray as he defeated Alex de Minaur from his locker room, and he held his head in his hands at every mistake the Scotsman made.
Just before 10 o’clock, he eventually entered the court personally and waved to the cheering throng while flashing his customary humble grin.
He praised his comrades from Team Europe, his rivals, his family, and his supporters when he and Nadal had triumphed and their last dance was complete.
Boys and females alike are present, he added. “My wife has been really encouraging. She had the opportunity to stop me a very long time ago, but she chose not to. She encouraged me and let me play, so it’s wonderful, so thank you.
“Funny how we constantly blame my mother for everything since, of course, she is the reason I am alive. My parents have been wonderful, therefore I appreciate them.
“There are too many people to thank, so just everyone. It’s been amazing.”
Tennis will never be the same without Roger Federer, a gentleman and a sports star.