Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal
, 2022-09-24 06:06:00,
Roger Federer’s career may have ended in a defeat on Friday, but the five-minute standing ovation that followed was testament to the unique, indelible mark he left on the sport of tennis.
The adulation of the crowd, seemingly endless rounds of applause and chants of “Roger, Roger, Roger,” reduced Federer to tears.
“I’m happy, I’m not sad,” he said after the match, a 6-4 6-7 9-11 defeat to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup at London’s O2 Arena.
“I enjoyed tying my shoes one last time. Everything was the last time.”
Following 24 years of excellence on the court – more than 1,500 matches, 103 singles titles and 20 grand slams – this was Federer’s last competitive match.
The epic tiebreak that sealed the win for the American pair was a fitting end to not only a match that, despite the intense and often emotional build-up, far surpassed expectations in its grandeur and quality, but also a career that has produced so many moments of genius and provided joy to so many.
For a three-day competition between teams from Europe and the rest of the world that has rarely felt like much more than an exhibition since its inception in 2017, the announcement of Federer’s retirement added some welcome prestige to this weekend’s play.
While the competition, featuring nine head-to-head singles and three doubles matches, may have previously garnered unsubstantial global attention, this year’s edition had now unquestionably become one of the biggest tennis events of the year.
Of course, this was largely due to it being Federer’s swansong, but it was also providing tennis fans with something they hadn’t seen for many years: Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all healthy and together competing at the same tournament.
Social media posts from these four superstars in the week leading up to the event no doubt would have had fans feeling nostalgic. The quartet displayed genuine warmth towards one another, akin to a group of school friends that hadn’t been together for many years, as they explored London’s landmarks.
Perhaps, though, the feelings of nostalgia came not only from the 2022 Laver Cup…
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