After many close battles against each other over the years, Roger Federer He will enjoy what he called a “special moment” in partnership with Rafael Nadal for the last match of his career.
Federer, who will? He retired from tennis after the Laver Cup this weekconfirmed he will only play one doubles match at London’s O2 Arena on Friday – the latest chapter in his long decorated career.
And on Thursday, it was announced that the Swiss star will team up with Nadal, 18 years after they first met on the ATP Tour in Miami.
The pair have met 40 times over the course of their careers – including nine Grand Slam finals – and have also met together at the 2017 Laver Cup.
“As long as we’ve been struggling together, where we’ve always had that respect for each other – our families and our coaching teams – we always got along very well,” Federer told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of playing alongside the Spaniard.
“To go through the careers we both have been through, to come out on the other side and be able to have a nice relationship, I think, is probably a great message as well – not just for tennis, but for sports beyond.
“That’s why, I think it would be great. I don’t know if that will happen, but I think it obviously could be a special moment.”
Nadal told a news conference on Thursday that he was “very excited” for Friday’s doubles match.
“After all the wonderful things we share together on and off the field, [to] Nadal said: “To be a part of this historic moment, it would be something yes, wonderful and unforgettable for me. Create a good moment and maybe win a match.”
Federer and Nadal will face American duo Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe The first day of the Laver Cup on Friday.
Federer said he had to get permission from Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg and tournament organizers to play in just one doubles match in the Laver Cup this week.
The competition sees teams from Europe and the rest of the world go head-to-head in nine singles and three doubles matches over three days.
“Here I am trying to prepare for my husband’s last game,” Federer said on Wednesday. “I’m nervous to get in because I haven’t played in a long time. I hope to be somewhat competitive.”
The 41-year-old has undergone multiple knee surgeries in recent years, losing in his last round of straight sets to Hubert Hurkacz in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals.
He said he still plans to return to the sport next year, two months before deciding to retire.
“I just wanted to let the fans know I wouldn’t be a ghost,” Federer said when asked how he would still be involved in tennis after retiring.
“I feel like tennis has given me a lot, I’ve been around the game for a long time, and I’ve fallen in love with a lot of things.
“I love seeing people again and that’s kind of what I wanted to tell fans – that you’ll see me again…what it could be, and in what capacity, I don’t know. I still have to think about it a bit and give myself time.”
Among the many accolades he has won in his tennis career, Federer has won 103 singles titles and 20 Grand Slam titles – second only to Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) on the men’s all-time list.
He became the world’s oldest ever number 1 at the age of 36 and also spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the rankings between 2004 and 2008.
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