Roger Federer ended his legendary career in a doubles match alongside Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer's legendary career ended in a way that was very fitting: alongside Rafael Nadal.
The Swiss tennis legend played the last match of his professional career at the Laver Cup 2022 on Friday in London, choosing to play with Nadal as his partner in the doubles match against Americans Francis Tiafoe and Jack Sock.
Playing in Team Europe, Federer and Nadal fell 4-6, 7-6, 11-9, but had a lot of fun along the way, as the entire audience and the other players present, including Federer's other rivals like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, were clearly aware that Tonight was a farewell.
The night ended with Federer and Nadal, the two top tennis rivals, sitting next to each other, both in tears. Once upon a time, they were holding hands.
During the match, spontaneous smiles were a common sight from the players on the players' side line on the field to the man in the referee's chair, with regular cheers and chants in support of Federer, who was returning from a long absence due to knee surgery.
Even in the casual atmosphere, the two legends had a tough job against Sock, a four-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, and Tiafoe, who was a semi-final exit at the US Open.
Federer announced his retirement from tennis last week after the Laver Cup and ended a career that included 20 Grand Slam singles titles, once a men's record, and some of the greatest tennis the world has ever seen against the likes of Nadal and Murray. Federer's career, once the sport's sole dominant force, was limited near the end by persistent injury problems, but his status as an icon was not in doubt.
Roger Federer stands out from the final<br>Friday's match started with the usual serve-dominance in doubles matches, with no break point until late in the first set. It took a wild shot from Nadal to keep the duo in the decisive break of the set.
There was also a strange moment that seemed oddly perfect, when Federer attempted a shot around the net, and somehow ended up hitting the ball over the net:
The two teams exchanged the break midway through the second set, which eventually went to a tiebreak in which Tiafoe and Sock won 7-2. It took some good tennis to get there:
A tie after two sets means a tie break of 10 points (things are different outside of a Grand Slam). Federer and Nadal jumped to a 3-0 lead before Tiafoe and Sock fought back and tied 3-3.
Tonight's shot actually came from Sock, who somehow managed to turn an overhead hit into a winner with pure reflexes from the service line.
No team advanced by more than one point for the remainder of the tiebreak, until Sock and Tiafoe scored the tiebreak and match 11-9, sealing their record in a career dating back to 1998.
Federer, known for being one of the sport's coolest clients, was visibly emotional as he hugged the rest of the players on the sidelines, then admitted to the cheering crowd as he fought back tears.
It wouldn't be the last time Federer picks up a racket, but it's the end of his game on the ATP Tour and at the Grand Slam. For a long time, he was the face of tennis, and he was a great face of the sport. Tennis may still be held by Nadal and Djokovic as well as up-and-coming players like Carlos Alcaraz, but it is without a doubt the end of an era.