Tennis

Rafael Nadal on Roger Federer’s retirement: ‘Emotional and sad’

Struggling with a knee injury for nearly three years, Roger Federer ended his incredible run at the Laver Cup in September. The Swiss made one last foray into the doubles match and chose his great friend and rival Rafael Nadal as his partner.

It turned out to be one of the most emotional nights in tennis history, with many tears coming from Federer, his family and colleagues. Rafa was happy for Roger, saying that he deserved that night after all he did for our sport.

The Spaniard described it as an emotional but sad night, doing his best to play alongside Roger despite an abdominal injury. Roger and Rafa had one match point before losing to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock 4-6, 6-2, 11-9. Federer saved a break point on Nadal’s serve at 4-4 in the first set and created a set point on the return in game 10 with a volley winner.

The Legends took advantage of it after Sock’s mistake to claim the first set 6-4 and gain a push. Federer and Tiafoe served well at the start of the second set before the Americans broke Nadal in the third game. Roger and Rafa recovered the break at 15 in game six to level the score at 3-3 and become the favourites.

Rafael Nadal described the farewell to Roger Federer.

Federer secured the ninth game with two service winners at deuce, and Sock and Tiafoe took the next one 5-5. Two legends survived Game 11 and fell within two points of victory in the second leg a few minutes later.

Sock kept his cool to introduce a tie break and prolong his chances. The Americans opened a 4-2 gap and unfolded it after a loose forehand from Federer. Frances forced Roger’s error at 6-2 to wrap up a playoff and extend the drama.

Nadal raised his level and took the first three points in the tiebreaker of the match. The Americans recovered and advanced 4-3 after Sock’s incredible point. Jack claimed another at 4-4 as he fell into the net before Rafa painted a volley winner for 5-5.

Roger volleyed a winner into the net for 7-7 and the veterans refused to give up. Tiafoe netted a backhand at 8-8 and offered Team Europe their first match point. The Swiss couldn’t pick up a forehand and the battle continued at 9-9.

Frances fired a game-winning shot on the return for 10-9 and the first match point for her team. Sock landed a forehand down the line winner at the 20th point to seal the deal and send Roger Federer into a well-deserved retirement. “It was a beautiful day, emotional, but also sad.

A world sports legend has retired, no doubt. He was a fellow adventurer. We shared many years on the circuit and many important moments that we competed together. I am happy because Roger had an unforgettable night in London at his farewell, with the love of so many people around the world.

He deserves it for being a great example and an icon. In that sense, for me to be part of his last professional moment was a tough day, but with a lot of emotions,” Rafael Nadal said.

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