A fitting farewell for the most stylish tennis player Get Whole Detail

A fitting farewell for the most stylish tennis player
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  • Roger Federer bid farewell to tennis at the Laver Cup on Friday.
  • The event was a fitting farewell for the most stylish tennis player ever.
  • “It was a wonderful day,” Federer said.

LONDON – Roger Federer bid farewell to tennis with a defeat in the final match of his career at the Laver Cup on Friday night.

The Swiss icon, who only announced his impending retirement from tennis last week, has teamed up with 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, the night – and Federer’s career – ended in tears of joy for the 41-year-old.

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

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

“It was a perfect trip and I would do it again.”

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

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When he announced his retirement, Federer said he decided to listen to his “body’s message”.

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

A special moment of magic came in the first set when she curled a shot through the tiny gap between the net and the net post.

“I enjoyed tying my laces one more time, it was all for the last time,” Federer said. “I didn’t feel that much stress, although I was thinking maybe something would 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 has been his biggest rival.

Over the years, the pair have met 40 times on court, with Federer coming out on top 16 times and Nadal 24. Ten of those meetings were in Grand Slam finals, where Nadal again came out on top most of the time, winning. Federer’s six to three.

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

However, in addition to being great rivals, Federer and Nadal were also great friends. The pair often have dinner together and meet their families.

Ending his career alongside the man who stood by him – whether friend or foe – every step of the way, Federer described as “amazing”.

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

Federer and Nadal are close friends.

Getty/John Walton

A fitting farewell

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

Not only has he won the admiration of tennis fans with his elegant and effortless style of play, he has also won hearts with his humble and gentle demeanor.

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

“He’s the most beautiful player I’ve ever seen play.”

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

Team Europe

Roger Federer.

Getty/Clive Brunskill

Friday – though not the Grand Slam-winning cancellation Federer dreamed of – proved to be a fitting farewell.

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

Before his own match, he saw teammate Andy Murray pick up Alex de Minaur from the locker room, cheering the Scot’s every winner and holding his head in his hands at every mistake.

When he finally presented himself in court shortly before 10:00 p.m., he greeted rapturous applause from the crowd with a typically modest smile and sign.

After his final dance was over, he thanked his Team Europe teammates, opponents, family and fans.

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

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

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

Equal parts sporting legend and gentleman – tennis will never be the same without Roger Federer.

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