Roger Federer emotionally says goodbye to tennis at Laver Cup | tennis news

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Roger Federer will put the curtain on his spectacular career in a “super special” match alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London on Friday. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, haunted by a knee injury, has not played since the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals and announced his retirement last week at the age of 41. But he will make one final appearance for Team Europe at the Laver Cup, linking up with Nadal in a dream doubles against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in the O2 arena.

The Swiss powerhouse has enjoyed a legendary rivalry with the Spaniard for nearly two decades and together they have won 42 Grand Slam singles titles in a golden era for men’s play.

The pair have played 40 times, including in nine Grand Slam finals, with Nadal holding a winning record of 24-16, but this time they will be on the same side of the net in the Ryder Cup-style event.

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The six-man Team Europe also includes Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — the other two members of the so-called “Big Four” — in a fitting pinnacle of Federer’s career.

Italian Matteo Berrettini takes Federer’s place for the final two days of the three-day tournament.

“Of course it’s super special to play with Rafa,” Federer said at a packed press conference on Thursday. “It feels very different, you know.

“It was also a great experience for me to just go out on the track and have the chance to play with players like Rafa or Novak in the past.

“So to be able to do that again, I’m sure it’s going to be great. I’ll do my very best. I hope to be good there, and of course I’ll enjoy it, but it’s going to be hard.”

Nadal, who first played against Federer on the TSWT in 2004, said he was looking forward to an “unforgettable” match alongside the Swiss.

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“After all the great things we’ve shared on and off the track together, it will be something amazing and unforgettable for me to be a part of this historic moment,” said the 36-year-old, who has a record 22 Grand Slam tally. won titles. in men’s tennis.

– ‘Void’ –

Team World captain John McEnroe said Federer’s retirement “leaves a void that will never be filled”.

“This is unbelievable what he and the other two guys (Djokovic and Nadal) have done,” he said. “He doesn’t need my advice. He is in a great position. He is an absolute class act.

“We all know that. He loves the sport. That’s part of the reason why he won so much, in my book. He loves it. I’m hopeful that he does, and I believe he’ll get there one day.” somehow, shape or form.”

American great Pete Sampras, whose record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles surpassed Federer in 2009, paid a warm tribute to the Swiss, recalling their one and only meeting in 2001.

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“We had a great battle on Center Court at Wimbledon and you beat me in a tough five-setter and I remember leaving the field feeling like I had met my match,” he said in a social media video. .

“Truly a special player. I didn’t know 20 years later that you would have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport, do basically everything.”

Norwegian Casper Ruud will face Sock in the first game of the Laver Cup on Friday, before Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the second singles.

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Murray, who is making his Laver Cup debut, will face Australian Alex de Minaur at the start of the evening session before Federer and Nadal take to the field.

(This story was not edited by The Switzerland Times staff and was generated automatically Platforms.)

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