And on Thursday, it was announced that the Swiss star will partner Nadal, 18 years after they first faced each other on the ATP Tour in Miami.
The pair have met 40 times during their careers — including nine grand slam finals — and also played together at the 2017 Laver Cup.
“While we fought together, always had this respect for each other – our families, our training teams – we always got along really well,” Federer told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of playing alongside the Spaniard. .
“To go through the careers that we’ve both had, to come out the other side and be able to have a nice relationship, I think, is maybe a great message as well – to not just tennis, but sports beyond it.
“Because of that, I think it would be great. I don’t know if it will happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment.”
Nadal said in a press conference on Thursday that he was “extremely excited” for Friday’s doubles match.
“After all the wonderful things we share together on and off the court, [to] be part of this historic moment, it will be something yes, wonderful and unforgettable for me,” Nadal said, “and yes, very excited, I hope I can have a good response time, play at a decent level and hopefully together we can. create a good moment and maybe win a match.”
Federer said he had to get permission from Team Europe captain Björn Borg and tournament organizers to play in just one doubles match at the Laver Cup this week.
The competition sees teams from Europe and the rest of the world go head-to-head in nine singles and three doubles matches over three days.
“Here I am trying to prepare for one last doubles,” Federer said on Wednesday. “I’m nervous going in because I haven’t played that long. I hope I can be a little competitive.”
The 41-year-old has undergone multiple knee operations in recent years with his last outing a straight sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.
He said he still planned to return to the sport next year as recently as two months ago before arriving at the decision to retire.
“I just wanted to let the fans know that I’m not going to be a ghost,” Federer said when asked how he would stay involved in tennis after retirement.
“I feel like tennis has given me too much, I’ve been around the game too long, fallen in love with too many things.
“I love seeing people again and that’s what I wanted to let the fans know — that you will see me again … What it could be, in what capacity, I don’t know. I still have to think about it a little bit and give me time. “
Among the many accolades of his tennis career, Federer has won 103 singles titles and 20 grand slam titles — a tally second only to Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) on the men’s all-time list.
He became the oldest ever world No. 1 at the age of 36 and also spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings between 2004 and 2008.