There were emotional scenes after the game to a sold-out crowd at The O2 in Londonwith some spending thousands of pounds to catch one last glimpse of Federer as tennis fans bid farewell to one of the game’s true greats.
Every point he won, every time he was called to serve, and every time videos of him were played on the main screens, Federer was met in a carnival atmosphere with widespread cheers from adoring supporters, with many shouts of “We love you.” , Roger’ and many signs with messages of love for the Swiss legend.
He decided not to participate in Laver Cup singles for fear of injurywith Federer out of action professionally since Wimbledon 2021 for tonight.
His last match was in doubles alongside longtime foe Nadal, with the pair – who have won a whopping 42 Grand Slam titles together – were defeated on Friday night by American duo Sock and Tiafoe, who won 4-6 7. -6 (11-9).
Tears streamed down Federer’s face as he sat down after the game and Nadal could be seen crying behind him.
“We’ll get through this somehow,” said an emotional Federer when he was called for his post-match interview.
‘It’s been a great day. I said to the boys: I’m happy, I’m not sad. I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.
“And funnily enough, with all the games and with the guys that are here – fans, family, friends – I didn’t feel that much stress, although I thought I did. [an injury might happen] in the match.
“So I’m so glad I made it. The match was great. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been great.
“And of course playing with Rafa on the same team and the boys – everyone here, all the legends – Rocket, Edberg, Stefan, thank you.”
When questioned about ending his career with players like Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray during the Laver Cup, Federer added: “I didn’t want it to feel lonely there!
“It felt lonely for a moment when they told me to go out or you wanted me to come out one more time.
“I feel great, but to say goodbye as a team – I always felt like a team player at heart – but singles don’t really do that much.
“I’ve had a team that traveled all over the world with me. It was great with them.
“So thank you to everyone who has been working on it for so many years. And then of course being on the team with Andy, Thomas, Novak, Mateo, Cam, Stefanos, Rafa and Casper and also the other team: you are incredible.
“It was a pleasure to play all those Laver Cups. It feels like a party to me. I wanted it to feel that way at the end and it’s exactly what I was hoping for. So thank you.’
The loss of Federer and Nadal sees Team World come back to 2-2 in the Laver Cup overall standings, following Murray’s defeat to Alex de Minaur earlier in the evening and victories for Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud in Friday’s session.
The winner of the fifth Laver Cup – founded by Federer in 2017 – is crowned when a team reaches a total of 13 pointswith Friday’s games worth one point, Saturday’s games two and Sunday’s games three.
Team Europe has won every tournament so far and this year’s lineup includes Federer, Nadal, Murray, Tsitsipas, Ruud, Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.
Day one action was interrupted Friday when a climate activist stormed into court and set fire to his right arm during Tsitsipas’ game against Diego Schwartzman.
The protester was wearing a white t-shirt that read ‘end UK private jets’ and was dragged off the pitch by security personnel, leaving both players, match officials and fans unharmed.
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