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

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

Roger Federer’s legendary tennis career is officially over. The 20-time Grand Slam champion lost to long-time rival Rafael Nadal in Friday’s doubles match at the Laver Cup, Federer’s final match before retirement. Francis Tiafoe and Jack Sock won 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9.

The result didn’t really matter as the whole world tuned in 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 reading “Forever our No. 1” were seen throughout the arena.

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

There was a lot of emotion and nerves were quite evident at the start of the event. Nadal mixed up the first two serves, but he and Federer traded blows before taking a 1-0 lead in the first set. The longtime rivals aren’t used to being on the same side of the field, so there was even a little confusion at times, but they kept a light hearted attitude through it all.

Even in his last match, Federer gave the world more amazing moments. At one point he sent one front right through the hole in the corner between the net and the post.

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

His eyes also caught one fan who takes off a lot of shirts to pump up the crowd. He and Nadal laughed about it during a quick break.

The bench was having fun, but Novak Djokovic also proved to be quite helpful as he gave his teammates some tips on how to handle Tiafoe. Team World put up a good fight, but Team Europe took the first set 6-4.

Sock and Tiafoe weren’t just going to go away as they made the second set an interesting battle. In the middle of that set, the pair went back and forth briefly when Nadal raced to clear a ball hit by Tiafoe, but got there a little too late. Tiafoe was impressed by the effort and ran to the other end of the net to congratulate him.

Team Europe was two points away from winning it all, but Team World tied 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 equalized and found the advantage. The battle continued as Tiafoe and Shock fought back. Nadal and Federer survived more than a handful of break points before racing to a 6-5 lead.

The match went to a tiebreak and Shock and Tiafoe won 11-9 in an exciting, 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 for the last time, and the standing ovation he received from the crowd made it clear he was appreciated for doing so.

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

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