Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, officially played his final match Friday night in London — technically it went past midnight into Saturday across the pond — marking the end of a remarkable, record-breaking career that included 20 Grand Slam championships.
Representing Team Europe in the Laver Cup, the 41-year-old superstar teamed up with friend and rival Rafael Nadal for a doubles match against against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.
Federer and Nadal lost a thrilling match that came down to a tiebreak, but the result of the contest wasn’t really the point. It was one last chance for one of the sport’s GOATs to take the court and one last chance for his fans to savor his excellence.
When it was all over, Federer delivered a heartfelt, emotional interview on the court, thanking his fans, his competitors and, of course, his family. It was sweet and classy, but also heartbreaking.
And while Federer struggled to maintain his composure through some tears, his fans, along with Nadal, struggled right there with him.
If there’s one thing you watch today, make it this.#LaverCup | @rogerfederer pic.twitter.com/Ks9JqEeR6B
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 23, 2022
Federer said on the court:
“I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time, and everything was the last time. And funny enough, with all the matches and having the guys and being here — fans, family, friends — didn’t feel the stress so much. … I am so happy I made it through, and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier, so been wonderful. And of course playing with Rafa on the same team and having the guys everybody here all the legends.”
“It is amazing. It really is. I didn’t want it to feel lonely out there. felt lonely for a second when they told me to go out or you wanted me to come out one more time, and it feels great. But to be saying goodbye on a team, I always felt that was a team player at heart. Singles doesn’t really do that a whole lot, but I’ve had a team you know traveled with me around the world. It’s been amazing with them. So thanks to everybody who made it work for so many years.
“And then of course being on the team with Andy [Murray], Thomas [Enqvist], Novak [Djokovic], Matteo [Berrettini], Cam [Bjorn Borg], Stefanos [Tsitsipas], Rafa and Casper [Ruud], and also the all the other teams of guys are unbelievable. It’s been a pleasure playing all these Laver Cups, and it does feel like a celebration to me. I wanted it to feel like this at the end, and it’s exactly what I hoped for. So thank you.”
It was an incredibly emotional night for Federer, those around him and his fans, as the tributes and celebration continued.
They’re crying next to each other. Rafa, Roger. Please make it stop. pic.twitter.com/srfP38tGIX
— Olly 🎾🇬🇧 (@Olly_Tennis_) September 23, 2022
OMG 😭💔#Fedal pic.twitter.com/PmKIx2AeXQ
— sabrine (@sabrine931) September 24, 2022
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