Roger Federer: 20-time Grand Slam champion ready to play last 'special' game of his career on Friday with Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer: 20-time Grand Slam champion ready to play last ‘special’ game of his career on Friday with Rafael Nadal



CNN

After many close battles against each other over the years, Roger Federer will be able to enjoy what he called a “special moment” when he teamed up with Rafael Nadal for the last game of his career.

Federer, who will retire from tennis after this week’s Laver Cup, has confirmed he will play just one doubles match at London’s O2 Arena on Friday – the final act of his long decorated career.

And on Thursday, it was announced that the Swiss star would team up with Nadal, 18 years after they first met on the ATP Tour in Miami.

The pair have met 40 times in their career – including nine Grand Slam finals – and also played together at the 2017 Laver Cup.

“As long as we fought together, having always had this respect for each other – our families, our coaching teams – we always got along very well,” Federer told reporters on Wednesday when asked. on the possibility of playing alongside the Spaniard.

“Going through the careers that we both had, coming out the other side and being able to have a great relationship, I think, is maybe a great message as well – not just for tennis, but also for sports beyond. of the.

“For that reason, I think it would be great. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I think it could obviously be a special moment. »

Federer and Nadal will face American pair Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe on the opening day of the Laver Cup on Friday.

Federer said he needs to get permission from European team captain Björn Borg and tournament organizers to play just one doubles match at the Laver Cup this week.

The competition sees teams from Europe and the rest of the world compete in nine singles matches and three doubles matches over three days.

“Here I’m trying to prepare for one last double,” Federer said. “We’ll see who it is with. I’m nervous because I haven’t played for so long. I hope I can be a bit competitive.

The 41-year-old has undergone several knee surgeries in recent years with his last outing a straight-set loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.

He said he had always planned to return to the sport next year just two months ago before making the decision to retire.

Federer speaks to the media in London ahead of the final game of his professional career.

“I just wanted to let the fans know that I won’t be a ghost,” Federer said when asked how he would stay involved in tennis after retirement.

“I feel like tennis has given me too much, I’ve been in the game too long, fallen in love with too many things.

“I love seeing people again and that’s kind of what I wanted to let the fans know – that you’ll see me again… What it might be, in what capacity, I don’t know. I still have to think a little bit and myself. give time.

Among the many accolades of his tennis career, Federer has won 103 singles titles and 20 Grand Slam titles – a tally just behind Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in the men’s all-time list.

He became the oldest world number one of all time at the age of 36 and also spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings between 2004 and 2008.

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