Roger Federer played his last game as a pro on Friday evening in London. The tennis icon lost on the first day of the Laver Cup with Rafael Nadal by his side against the Americans Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock: 6-4, 6-7 (2) and 9-11. Despite the loss, Federer visibly enjoyed his retirement.
The 41-year-old Federer closed his tennis career of almost twenty-five years in the sold-out O2 Arena. The former number one in the world won twenty Grand Slam titles and 103 ATP tournaments in his career. He will go down in the books as one of the best tennis players of all time. After fourteen months of being vexed by injuries, the tennis player, together with rival and friend Nadal, showed yesterday how it should be done again.
The stadium went wild when the two tennis icons started their match. At the net, Federer played like in his best days. As an extra trick, he even managed to hit a ball exactly through a hole in the net. The first set was won by a break in the tenth game.
The men also showed top tennis in the second company. The rallies and games got longer and longer, but Sock and Tiafoe also showed their best side. The Americans soon brought the game back to a tie. With a 9-8 deficit they managed to get rid of a match point with Federer on service. Sock and Tiafoe then quickly ended the match. The win was for the Americans, but the applause was for Federer.
Federer was clearly emotional after the game. In tears, he waved to his fans and talked to the British media. He thanked his wife, his mother and of course the audience. “I thought it was a beautiful day. I just told the boys I’m happy and not sad. It feels great to be here. I enjoyed playing again. This was exactly what I was hoping for”, said Federer.
“It was an amazing trip. I never expected to have such a career. I used to be just happy to play tennis. And now it ends here. I would do it again, it was a perfect trip.” After these closing words, Nadal couldn’t keep it dry anymore.
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