September 29, 2022

Roger Federer loses in final professional match

5 min read


[Breaking news update, published at 7:37 p.m. ET]

Swiss tennis great Roger Federer lost his last professional doubles match with contemporary and rival Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Lever Cup.

Federer and Nadal were beaten 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), (9-11) by the American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in the event, which featured a team of European players. A team was challenged. rest of the world

[Original story, published at 5:10 a.m. ET]

After more than 1,500 matches, 103 singles titles and 20 Grand Slams, the time has come. of Roger Federer The last dance.

Tennis greats will take to the court for the last time. Play with longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal Earlier on Friday in a doubles match in the Lever Cup at London’s O2 Arena Hanging his racket. for good.

After 24 years of excellence on the court, Federer will retire as one of the game’s greatest ever, beloved by both his rivals and fans alike.

And before his last competitive appearance, he has been respected by some of his toughest opponents, whom he has defeated and – more often than not – lost.

Federer practicing at the O2 Arena.

“He has a lot of sports fans to start following tennis,” said three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray. CNN Sport. “He’s one of the most popular players in all of sports because of the way he’s gone about his business on and off the court, and yes, he’s going to leave a big void and tennis will certainly fill that void. will be missed.”

Twenty-one-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic echoed Murray’s sentiments, highlighting Federer’s far-reaching influence. β€œAs a tennis fan, not just his competitor and tennis player, I am grateful for everything he has done for our sport.

“He brought a lot of attention, positivity to our sport on and off the court and brought a lot of other sports fans to watch tennis, so his contribution has been huge. He’s had a huge impact on my own career. It was more, I became a better player because of the rivalry with him over the years,” Djokovic told CNN Sport. “I’m sure his illustrious career will live on for a very long time and will be remembered very positively by many.”

Although he hasn’t been able to feature as much as he would have liked in recent years, Federer’s presence has grown tremendously.

After making his tour debut in 1998, he became one of tennis’ most dominant players for more than two decades, setting records for tour wins and men’s Grand Slam singles titles.

In his long and storied career, Federer also spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings between 2004 and 2008. And before his last match, he said his longevity was the top thing he was proud of.

Federer plays a backhand during the quarterfinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“I was known for being quite erratic at the beginning of my career. If you remember, I was known for not being that consistent. After that I went on to become one of the most consistent players of all time. It’s also a shock,” Federer said told media on Thursday.

“It’s been a huge achievement for me personally. People can decide if they think that’s the case, but for me, it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed and I’ve been able to stay at the top for so long and compete for any tournament I enter and really go out there. Says: ‘I hope I can win the tournament,’ For more than 15 years.

“I think looking back has a special meaning for me because I always looked up to Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, all the other people who stayed at the top for so long that I don’t understand how they did it. The next thing you know, you’re part of the group, and it’s been a great feeling.”

While both Djokovic and Nadal have surpassed Federer’s record for men’s Grand Slam singles titles, the Swiss remains a fan favorite for his elegance and grace on and off the court.

The 41-year-old’s appearances have been limited by injuries in recent years, having undergone multiple knee surgeries over the past few years, and he last lost in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in straight sets to Hubert Herkaz.

He said he still planned to return to the game next year as recently as two months ago before reaching the decision to retire.

Federer said he would have to get permission from Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg and tournament organizers to play just one doubles match at the Laver Cup – which pits teams from Europe and the rest of the world against each other in nine singles. Three doubles matches over three days.

Federer poses with Nadal, Djokovic and Murray after a practice session ahead of the 2022 Liverpool Cup.

β€œPlaying Super Special with Rafa [Nadal]feels really different, you know?” Federer said in a press conference on Thursday. “Also, just getting out on the court and playing with guys like Rafa or Novak. [Djokovic] It’s been an amazing experience for me in the past, so to be able to do it again, I’m sure it’s going to be great.

Nadal told a press conference Thursday that he was “super excited” for Friday’s doubles match.

“After all the amazing things we share on and off the court, [to] To be part of this historic moment is going to be something yes, amazing and unforgettable for me,” Nadal said, “and yes, very excited, I hope I’ll have a good time, play at a good level and Hope we can create together. Have a good moment and maybe win a match.”

Federer will play doubles on Friday night before Italy’s Matteo Beratini replaces the Swiss on Team Europe for the rest of the tournament. The Lever Cup was founded by Federer in 2017 and is named after Australian great Rod Lever.

And for the man himself, who will no doubt receive a hero’s send-off from the adoring crowd in London when he faces Jack Sock and Francis Tiafou alongside Nadal, Federer admitted he will miss tennis.

Federer takes a selfie with his Team Europe teammates ahead of the 2022 Leverkusen Cup.

“I love tennis, everything about it,” he said. “I will miss the competition, fans for me or against me.

“They’ve usually been with me the whole way, so it’s been great. I can always travel, so I won’t miss it, but I’ve also got to tour with my family in the second part of my career. It feels good to go on – it’s been great.

He added: “You always want to play forever. I love being out on the court, I love playing against the boys and I love traveling. I never really felt it was for me. It was so hard – winning, learning from losing – it was all perfect.

“I love my career from every angle. That’s the bitter part. [of retiring]. The sweet part was that I know everyone has to do it at some point. Everyone has to leave the game. It’s been a great, great journey. For that, I am truly grateful.”

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