Roger Federer's farewell match produces numerous emotional and tearful moments: Watch videos

Roger Federer's last career match expectedly produced plenty of tears with the Swiss, his wife, kids, family and even longtime rival Rafael Nadal reduced to tears.

FP Sports September 24, 2022 06:52:48 IST
Roger Federer's farewell match produces numerous emotional and tearful moments: Watch videos

An emotional Roger Federer (L) and Rafael Nadal (R) after the former played his last career match at the Laver Cup in London. AP

London: Roger Federer bid adieu to tennis on Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that spanned nearly a quarter-century and included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman’s role.

He wrapped up his days as a professional player with a loss in doubles alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.

The victors, the scoreline, the stats didn’t matter. (It wasn’t about that at all even if at times it did look like all four cared plenty!) The occasion was about the farewell itself. Or more accurately, the farewells: Federer’s to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities’ farewells to Federer.

“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”

When the match and, with it, his time as a professional tennis player, ended, Federer hugged Nadal, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then Federer began crying. There were plenty of tears to go around; Nadal wiped his own away, too.

His wife, Mirka, their four children — twin girls and twin boys — and Federer’s parents joined him on the court afterward for embraces and more bawling in extremely emotional scenes. Members of Team Europe and Team World joined together to hoist Federer up in the air.

“It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy; I’m not sad,” Federer said. “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.”

The Swiss star had announced last week that the three-day team event, which was founded by his management company, would be his final event before retirement, then made clear the doubles outing would be the last match.

His surgically repaired right knee — the last of three operations came shortly after a loss in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2021, which will go down as his official exit in singles — is in no shape to allow him to continue.

Doubles needs far less movement and court coverage so the stress on Federer’s knee was limited. He showed touches of his old flair and of rust, as to be expected.

There was also a moment when a Federer forehand traveled through a gap below the net tape and so the point was taken away from Federer and Nadal.

Although this match was all but an exhibition, all four doubles participants played as if they wanted to win. That was clear when Sock leaped and screamed after one particularly terrific volley.

‘Fedal’, the nickname for the Federer and Nadal, were able to laugh after a bit of confusion over which should go for a ball on a point they lost. After Nadal somehow flicked one back-to-the-net shot around the post, only for it to land barely wide, US Open semi-finalist Tiafoe, crossed over to extend a hand with congratulations for the effort.

Beyond the elegance and effectiveness while wielding a racket, Federer’s persona made him an ambassador for tennis, someone whose immense popularity helped attract fans.

“It does feel like a celebration to me,” Federer said before taking a stroll akin to a victory lap around the venue, blowing kisses and waving. “I wanted to feel like this at the end, and it’s exactly what I hoped for.”

(with inputs from The Associated Press)

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