Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Roger Federer loses final match before retirement playing alongside Rafael Nadal in doubles at Laver Cup

Roger Federer’s legendary tennis career is officially over. The 20-time Grand Slam champion lost alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal in Friday’s doubles match at the Laver Cup, the last match Federer will play before retirement. Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock won by a score of 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9.

The result didn’t really matter, as the whole world was watching to show support for the Swiss legend, from Federer’s parents in the audience to World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz watching on TV and live tweeting his thoughts. Signs that read “Forever our No. 1” were seen all over the arena.

Federer reflected on his incredible tennis journey after the match by saying, “It’s been a perfect journey” and one he would do all over again. His family and Nadal were visibly crying in response to Federer’s words, and Federer himself couldn’t hold back the tears as he gave his final post-match interview. 

There were a lot of emotions, and nerves were quite obvious at the start of the event. Nadal messed up the first couple of serves, but he and Federer laughed it off before taking a 1-0 lead in the first set. The longtime rivals are not used to being on the same side of the court, so there was even a little bit of confusion at times, but they kept a lighthearted attitude through it all. 

Even during his final match, Federer gave the world more surprising highlights. At one point, he sent a forehand right through the hole in the corner between the net and the pole.

“My eye is still good. I saw that it went through,” Federer joked with his bench during a break.

His eyes also caught a fan taking off multiple shirts to pump up the crowd. He and Nadal chuckled about it during a quick break. 

The bench was having fun, but Novak Djokovic also proved quite useful as he gave his teammates some advice on how to handle Tiafoe. Team World have a good battle, but Team Europe took the first set 6-4.

Sock and Tiafoe were not just going to go away, as they made the second set an interesting battle. In the middle of that set, the pairs were going back and forth for a while when Nadal ran to chase a ball hit by Tiafoe but got there a little too late. Tiafoe was impressed by the effort and ran to the other side of the net to congratulate him.

Team Europe was two points away from winning it all, but Team World went on to tie the second set 5-5 and used that momentum to take a 40-0 lead. Nadal and Federer are not ones to give up, so they quickly evened it out and found the advantage. The battle continued as Tiafoe and Sock fought back. Nadal and Federer survived more than a handful of breakpoints before reaching a 6-5 lead.

The match came down to a tiebreaker, and Sock and Tiafoe won 11-9 in a thrilling, back-and-forth fashion. Here’s the incredible rally that helped propel Sock and Tiafoe to victory. 

Despite the loss, Federer expressed his gratitude for the moment and thanked his teammates and family for their support after the match. Federer said he enjoyed tying his shoes one last time, and the extended standing ovation the crowd gave him made it clear they appreciated him doing so. 

“It does feel like a celebration to me,” Federer said. “I wanted it to feel like this at the end, and it’s exactly what I hoped for, so thank you.”

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