After over 1,500 matches, 103 singles titles and 20 Grand Slams, it’s time Roger Federer’s last Dance.
Tennis greats will take to the court for the last time Play with longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal Earlier on Friday in a doubles match at the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London hang your racket for good.
After 24 years of excellence on the court, Federer will retire as one of the best to grace the game, beloved by both his competitors and fans alike.
And before his final competitive appearance, some of his toughest rivals over the years, whom he has beaten and – more often than not – losers, are paying their respects.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray said, “He has many sports fans to follow tennis.” CNN Sport, “He’s one of the most popular athletes in all sports because of the way he’s gone about his business on the court, and yes, he’s going to leave a big void and tennis will definitely miss him.”
Twenty-one-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic echoed Murray’s sentiment, highlighting Federer’s massive influence. “As a tennis fan, not only as his opponent and tennis player, I am grateful for everything he has done for our sport.
“He brought so much attention, positive attention to our sport on and off the court and brought so many other sports fans to watch tennis, so his contributions have been huge. His influence on my own career was huge, I have been his career for years. The rivalry together led to a better player,” Djokovic told CNN Sport. “I am sure his distinguished career will live on for a very long time and will be remembered by many in the most positive way possible.”
Although he hasn’t shown as much in recent years as he would have liked, Federer’s presence has grown significantly.
After making his tour debut in 1998, he went on to become one of tennis’ most influential players for more than two decades, setting records in Tour wins and men’s Grand Slam singles titles.
In his long and protracted career, Federer also spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings between 2004 and 2008. And before his last match, he said that his longevity at the top is something he is proud of.
“I was famous for being very erratic early in my career. If you remember, I was famous for not being that consistent. To be one of the most consistent players of all time is quite shocking to me as well,” Federer said. Told media on Thursday.
“It’s been a huge achievement for me personally. People can judge if they think that’s the case, but for me, it’s something I’ve really enjoyed and I’ve been at the top for so long.” I’ve been able to live on and compete for any tournament that I would enter and actually go out there and say: ‘I hope I can win the tournament,’ for over 15 years.
“I think looking back has a special meaning to me because I always looked at Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, all the other guys who stayed on top for so long that I didn’t understand how they did it. Next thing you know, you’re part of that group, and it’s been a great feeling.”
While both Djokovic and Nadal have surpassed Federer’s men’s Grand Slam singles title record, the Swiss remains a fan of his elegance and grace on and off the court.
The 41-year-old’s appearance has been limited in recent years due to injuries, has undergone several knee surgeries over the years, and last year’s Wimbledon quarter-final was his last loss against Hubert Herkaz.
He said he still planned to return to the sport next year, as recently as two months before reaching the decision to retire.
Federer said he would need permission from Team Europe captain Björn Borg and tournament organizers to play only one doubles match in the Laver Cup – in which teams from Europe and the rest of the world face off in nine singles and three over the course of three days. doubles match.
“Playing Super Special With Rafa” [Nadal]”Sounds really different, you know?” Federer said at the press conference on Thursday. “Also, just getting off the court and playing with the likes of Rafa or Novaki [Djokovic] It’s been an amazing experience for me in the past too, so to be able to do this once again, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing. ,
Nadal told a press conference on Thursday that he was very excited for Friday’s doubles match.
“After all the amazing things that we share together on and off the court, [to] Be a part of this historic moment, for me something yes, amazing and unforgettable is going to happen,” Nadal said, “and yes, super excited, I hope I can have a great time, playing at a good level.” And hopefully together we can make a good moment and maybe win a match. ,
Federer will play in a doubles match on Friday night, before Italy’s Matteo Berrettini will replace the Swiss on Team Europe for the rest of the competition. The Laver Cup was founded by Federer in 2017 and is named after Australian great Rod Laver.
And as for the man himself, who will undoubtedly receive a hero’s departure from the loving crowd in London when he faces off against Nadal alongside Jacques Sock and Frances Tiafo, Federer admits he will miss tennis.
“I love tennis, everything about it,” he Told, “I will miss the competition, fans are cheering for or against me.
“They’ve usually been with me the whole way, so it’s been great. I can always travel so I won’t miss it, but I also love going on tour with my family in the second half of my career – It’s been amazing.”
He continued: “You’ve always wanted to play forever. I love being out on the court, I love playing against guys and I love traveling. I never really felt like it was hard for me to do – Learning to win, to lose – it was all right.
“I love my career from every angle. that’s the bitter part [of retiring], The best part was that I know everyone has to do it once in a while. Everyone has to leave the game. It’s been a great, great journey. For that, I’m really grateful.”