MADRID, 24 Sep. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, winner of 20 ‘Grand Slams’ and considered one of the greatest in this sport, played his last match this Friday, resulting in a defeat, surely more symbolic in terms of spirit, together with the Spanish Rafa Nadal in his 2022 Laver Cup doubles match.
He could not have the desired farewell from Basel, whose physical problems have prevented him from trying to extend a tremendous career a little more. Turning 41 in August, he played for the last time at the O2 Arena in London, a city with which he has a special bond, especially because of the eight Wimbledons he won.
The London venue surrendered with the former world number one, in tears after falling with his friend and great rival in the double against the Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe after more than two hours.
Federer had a serve, one of his best weapons along with his powerful ‘drive’ and his elegant and lethal volley, to have given the point to the European team, but finally the victory fell to the side of the international team 4-6, 7- 6(2) and 9/11.
From there, emotions were unleashed for the man from Basel, accompanied in the stands by his family. Usually tempered, Federer couldn’t help but tear up as he was feted by his teammates, rivals and by a crowd that did not stop supporting him with the ‘Let’s go Roger, let’s go’ (‘Come on Roger, come on’).
At his side, also excited, a Rafa Nadal who gave everything to try to help his friend have a farewell with at least one victory. The Balearic, in his first match after falling at the US Open precisely against Tiafoe, almost always supported the duo, supported by a rhythm that did not accompany his partner, who had not played an official match for 15 months and who had a hard time at times , although he left some masterstroke or what seemed like it, like the ball that went through a hole between the net and the support..
After the victories of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas against the Argentine Diego Schwartzman (6-2, 6-1) and the Norwegian Casper Ruud against Jack Sock (6-4, 5-7, 10/7), in the couple that brings together 42 ‘ big’ was the option of giving Europe a 3-1 lead on Saturday after Australian Alex de Miñaur came from behind against Scotsman Andy Murray (5-7, 6-3, 10/7).
Despite being far from their best level, especially Federer, the couple chosen by Bjorn Borg knew how to counteract the Americans, led by a Sock who proved to be a great doubles player. A ‘break’ with 5-4 gave the Swiss and the Spanish the first set, but their rivals did not want to join the ‘party’ and continued to give ‘war’ in a second set where they did not take advantage of an initial break or six break balls with 5-5.
Finally, the Americans were more solid in the ‘tie-break’ to take the farewell to the maximum possible emotion in the ‘match tie-break’. There, Nadal and Federer did not know how to control their initial advantage, but with a stroke of genius, the Swiss gave himself the opportunity to close the match with 9/8 and serve. He did not take advantage of it and it was time to say goodbye and pay homage.
“IT’S BEEN A WONDERFUL DAY, I’M NOT SAD”
“We’ll get through this somehow. It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy not sad. It’s great to be back here, I enjoyed tying my shoelaces one more time, it was all the last time.” Federer noted on court, where he couldn’t help but continue to get emotional.
The one from Basel assured that he did not notice “so much stress” of knowing that he was playing his last game and confessed that “the game was great”.
“Playing with Rafa and having all the legends here, thank you,” added the Swiss.
“Everyone is here, the boys and girls, and my wife, who has been very supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me active and allowed me to play, so it’s amazing, thank you. Thanks to my parents, they have been incredible. There are too many people to thank, it has been incredible”, sentenced one of the greatest in the history of tennis.