Rafael Nadal on Roger Federer: “An important part of my life is also leaving”



CNN

When the end came neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal could hold back the tears.

Perhaps it was the music that stirred the emotions, with British singer Ellie Goulding rounding off a memorable night in London, or perhaps it was the memories, and there are many who share these tennis greats, that came to the fore.

As Nadal sat next to his friend and arch-rival at the O2 Arena on Friday night, the pair wept. Fans chanted Federer’s name, the pair embraced and Federer received a final standing ovation. There was no doubt that this was the last professional match of the great Swiss.

“For me, it has been a great honor to be part of this amazing moment in the history of our sport and at the same time many years of sharing many things together,” the Spaniard said of Federer, according to Reuters. , after the pair lost their Laver Cup doubles match to American pair Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

“When Roger leaves the tour, yes, a big part of my life goes too because all the times he’s been by my side or in front of me in big moments in my life. So it’s been emotional (see ) the family, seeing all the people. Yeah, hard to describe. But yeah, amazing moment.”

Federer and Nadal played each other 40 times in one of the sport’s greatest rivalries, with the most memorable match being the thrilling 2008 Wimbledon final which Nadal won in the final set. It is still regarded as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.

Federer celebrates with Nadal during their doubles match.

Between them, they have accumulated 42 grand slams (Federer 20, Nadal 22).

Despite the on-court battles, however, the pair remain friends, with Federer choosing Nadal to be his doubles partner during his swansong. The partnership was affectionately called “Fedal” by fans.

“I think every year the personal relationship gets better every day,” Nadal, 36, told reporters. “I think we kind of understand that in the end we have a lot in common. We approach life probably similar.

“On the court we have completely opposite styles, and that’s what probably makes our matches and our rivalry the most important and interesting.

“I’m very proud to be a part of his career in some way. But even happier to end our career as friends after all we shared on the court as rivals.”

Federer sheds a tear after playing his last match.

Federer, a former world number one and a player who will be remembered as one of the great champions of any sport, described his 25-year professional career as a “perfect journey”.

“It feels like a celebration. I wanted to feel like this at the end and it’s exactly what I was hoping for, so thank you,” she said during an emotional courtside speech.

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

Federer, 41, also thanked his wife Mirka for her support.

“Everybody is here, the boys and the girls. My wife has been very supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t,” Federer said.

“She supported me and allowed me to play, so it’s amazing. Thank you.”

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