A fitting farewell for the classiest tennis player

A fitting farewell for the classiest tennis player

  • Roger Federer said goodbye to tennis at the Laver Cup on Friday.
  • The event was a fitting farewell to the classiest tennis player of all time.
  • “It’s been a wonderful day,” said Federer.

LONDON – Roger Federer said goodbye to tennis with a loss in the last match of his career on Friday night at the Laver Cup.

The Swiss icon, who announced his imminent retirement from tennis last week, joined Rafael Nadal to face American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the first doubles match of the tournament.

Sock and Tiafoe won 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 11-9.

Despite the loss, Federer’s night and career ended with tears of joy for the 41-year-old.

“It’s been a wonderful day,” Federer said in his on-court interview, shortly after a video of his career highlights was shown on the O2 Arena screens. “I told the guys I’m happy, not sad. It feels great to be here.”

He added, “It feels like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like that at the end and it’s exactly what I was hoping for, so thank you.”

“It has been a perfect journey and I would do it all over again.”

Federer had not played a competitive tennis match in more than a year before Friday. The last time he took the court was at Wimbledon 2021, after which he underwent a third surgery on his right knee. He had two surgeries on the same knee the year before.

Announcing his retirement, Federer said he had decided to listen to the “message from his body”.

Though he showed signs of rust against Sock and Tiafoe, the veteran star wowed the crowd with his graceful nonchalance and a highlight reel of his signature shots.

A particular moment of magic came in the first set when he blasted a shot through the small gap between the net and the net post.

“I enjoyed tying my shoelaces one more time, it was all the last time,” Federer said. “I didn’t feel as much stress, although I thought maybe something was going to go, like a calf or a back, but the match was great, I got through it and I couldn’t be happier.”

Best Friends

For much of Federer’s career, Nadal was his biggest rival.

Over the years, the pair have met 40 times on the court, with Federer winning 16 times and Nadal 24. Ten of those meetings have been in Grand Slam finals, with Nadal again emerging victorious more often than not. , winning six to Federer’s three.

Between 2005 and 2010, during the peak era of their combined dominance of the men’s game, they won 21 of a possible 24 Grand Slams.

However, apart from being great rivals, Federer and Nadal have also been great friends. The couple often have dinner together and meet each other’s families.

Closing out his career alongside the man who has been by his side, be it friend or foe, at every turn, Federer described it as “unbelievable”.

Team Europe's Roger Federer (right) and Rafael Nadal during their match against Team World's Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe on day one of the Laver Cup at London's O2 Arena.

Federer and Nadal are close friends.

Getty/John Walton



a proper farewell

Federer has oozed class both on and off the tennis court during his career.

Not only did she win the admiration of tennis fans with her graceful and natural style of play, but she also captured hearts with her humble and gentle demeanor.

“Roger Federer is a living legend,” John McEnroe told reporters earlier this year. “He is the epitome of what you would like your son to be when he grows up.

“He is the most beautiful player I have ever seen play.”

Andy Roddick once said of Federer: “He’s a real person. He’s not an enigma. Off the court, he’s not trying to be someone. If you met him at McDonald’s and didn’t know who he was, you’d have no idea.” that he is one of the best athletes in the world.”

Team Europe's Roger Federer shows emotion after his final match during the first day of the Laver Cup at The O2 Arena.

Roger Federer.

Getty/Clive Brunskill



Friday, while not quite the Grand Slam-winning farewell Federer may have dreamed of, turned out to be a fitting farewell.

On a day when he could have so easily and understandably wrapped himself in his own world, Federer remained as humble as ever.

Before his own match, he watched his teammate Andy Murray take on Alex de Minaur from his locker room, cheering on each Scottish winner and holding their heads in their hands at each of their mistakes.

When he finally arrived on the court himself shortly before 10 pm, he was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the crowd with a typically modest smile and wave.

After he finished his last dance, he thanked his Team Europe teammates, his opponents, his family and his fans.

“Everyone is here, the boys and girls,” he said. “My wife has been very supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play, so that’s amazing, thank you.”

“It’s funny, we always blame my mom for everything because without her I wouldn’t be here of course. Thanks to my parents, they’ve been amazing.”

“Just everyone, there are too many people to thank. It’s been amazing.”

Equal parts sports legend and gentleman, tennis will never be the same without Roger Federer.

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