As the world watched, the curtain came down Roger Federerfriday night’s historic career at the Making a Cup. In front of an electrifying crowd, the Swiss master teamed up with a longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal to strike his final shots at The O2 in London.
The former World No. 1 looked sharp around the net and fired his seemingly effortless groundstrokes across the court during the two-hour, 16-minute clash. However, he was ultimately unable to earn the 1,382nd win of his career in singles and doubles, falling to a Team World pair. Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
The Americans rallied from a set down to defeat their legendary opponents 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9, leveling the Making a Cup at 2-2 after the first day.
“We’re going to get through this somehow, right? Right?,” Federer said in a cracking voice during his on-court interview. “I’m happy, I’m not sad. It’s great to be here and I enjoyed. tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time. The match was great, I couldn’t be happier. It was amazing.”
Federer was overcome with emotion in the immediate aftermath of the match, hugging teammate Nadal and waving to the crowd as he embraced the roar of his fans for the final time.
The Swiss star then walked to his seat for the last time, where he stood alongside his teammates and greeted the capacity crowd. Federer was unable to contain his emotion as he addressed the arena during his on-court interview, breaking down in tears as he shared final words of thanks and gratitude to his family, team and supporters.
“Playing with Rafa in the same team, and having the kids, all here, all the legends – Rocket, Edberg, Stefan – thank you,” said Federer, who was joined on court by his parents, wife Mirka and their four children. . “I didn’t want it to feel lonely out there. It felt lonely for a second when they told me to get out … but saying goodbye in a team, I’ve always felt like I’m a team player at heart. Singles. don’t really do that but i had a team that traveled the world with me it was amazing with them so thanks to everyone who made it work for so many years.
“And then of course being on the team with Andy, Thomas, Novak, Matteo, Cam, Stefanos, Rafa and Casper… and the other team too, you guys are incredible. It’s been a pleasure playing all these Laver Cups.
“It does feel like a party to me. I wanted to feel that way at the end, and it’s exactly what I was hoping for, so thank you.”
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The former world number 1 leaves the sport as a legend. He won 103 tour-level titles and spent 310 weeks at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Federer first faced Nadal in 2004 at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami. They fought it out a further 39 times over the years, competing against each other in 24 finals.
Having built a special relationship, it was fitting for Federer to end his career together with the Spaniard, with “Big Four” stars. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray cheering them on from the sidelines. His parents, wife Mirka and children also watched court side.
“We have to go there?” he joked when asked about his family. “I’ve done well so far. I’m at least able to talk. In my vision, I could never talk so I’m doing much better.
“My wife has been so supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play. It’s amazing. Thank you.”
In an entertaining match, Federer and Nadal were in great spirits throughout, smiling and entertaining the crowd with their dynamic shot-making. During the third game of the first set, the Swiss star fired a forehand through a gap in the net. Despite Team World being awarded the point, the Swiss-Spanish tandem shared a smile as they walked back to the baseline.
With the crowd roaring them on, Federer and Nadal played with freedom, matching the intensity of the Americans in a series of all-court exchanges to win the first set. After Sock and Tiafoe won the second set, a Match Control break was left to decide Federer’s final clash. With the crowd on their feet, it was the Americans who found a way, saving one match point at 8/9 to edge out a thrilling tie break.