“I felt like I was at a party”
Federer retires after losing tennis
In the last match of his career, Roger Federer fights for every ball, but the victory is not given to him: With a three-set defeat, one of the greatest tennis legends says goodbye to professional sports. But in front of 20,000 euphoric spectators, the result becomes insignificant.
Saturday evening at 0.25 local time, one of the greatest sports careers ended. With tears in his eyes, Roger Federer said goodbye to tennis in London. After more than 100 tournament victories and a total of 20 Grand Slam titles, the 41-year-old Swiss ended an impressive career.
Federer was not awarded a final victory in his last official match. At the Laver Cup tournament in London, Federer lost to the US duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in a tie-break match 6:4, 6:7 (2:7), 9:11 together with Spanish Rafael Nadal. Afterwards, Federer hugged all his teammates and let the crowd cheer him on. Chants of “Roger, Roger” echoed through The O2 in London.
“It felt like a celebration, and that’s exactly what I wanted,” Federer said in an on-court interview afterward. Time and again he had to stop talking to former American pro Jim Courier because he had to cry. “It was a perfect trip. I would do it again.”
Federer announced last week that he would retire from team competition. The Swiss had a total of three knee surgeries. He played his last match on the Wimbledon ATP tour more than a year ago.
The Laver Cup pitted the European team against players from around the world from Friday to Sunday. 2:2 after the first day. Federer’s final appearance was delayed considerably as Britain’s Andy Murray and Australia’s Alex de Minaur clashed for almost two-and-a-half hours. Both displayed a high-level duel – but hardly anyone in the arena and in front of televisions around the world was interested. Everyone was just waiting for the moment when Federer would step on the tennis court for the last time for an official match.
A dream team with Nadal
22.03 local time, the time has finally come. To the sound of deafening fans, Federer entered the arena alongside his long-time rival and now-boyfriend Nadal. “After all the great things we shared together on and off the court, I will never forget being part of this historic moment,” Nadal said before the match. Federer wanted the Spaniard as his doubles partner in the final match.
And the two superstars, who have won 42 Grand Slam titles together, had the audience excited from the start. Federer and Nadal joked together and the rest of the European team around Novak Djokovic was also in good spirits. And when it comes to sports, Federer kept flashing that at 41 years old and after several surgeries he didn’t forget to play tennis.
Before the match, Federer could see the tension. The long-time number one tried again and again to create a relaxed atmosphere with laughter. But even on his way to the arena, which Federer shared live with fans in an Instagram video, the Swiss maestro’s moment was notable. “I’ve done it 1,000 times, but it feels different,” Federer said.
But on court, the 20-time Grand Slam champion managed his nerves and found the right mix of relaxed and serious. But it was not enough for the final victory.