October 3, 2022
The greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer lost the final match

Tennis great Roger Federer played his last match on the professional circuit, ending a career defined by shot-making magic, trophy-winning performances and clashes against elite rivals in the golden age of men’s tennis.

In the doubles match that lasted from Friday night to Saturday, the Swiss player teamed up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal to bid farewell. They lost 6–4, 6–7, 9–11 against American pair Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, who won after a grueling tiebreak to decide the winners. But this match was more important than the outcome.

Federer said in tears after the match, “We’ll deal with it somehow.” “It’s been a perfect trip and I would do it again.”

On the Laver Cup’s signature charcoal gray court, Federer reminded the world of the skill that delighted fans and opponents in a career that ended in injury. However, when he returned to the nets, he also showed a lack of sharpness when he broke down in the second set.

Federer and Nadal were urged on by their courtside teammates, with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic giving tactical advice between points. Fans at the O2 Arena in south-east London celebrated Federer’s every move, including an opening shot that was somehow squeezed through the gap between the net and the support.

Nevertheless, Federer and his teammates from Spanish rivals fought hard for Team Europe against representatives of Team World in a tournament they helped prepare for the Ryder Cup golf competition as their game’s answer. .

Federer and Nadal cried together as the curtain fell on one of the sport’s biggest stories, a career of winning that is much more than a losing holiday. Longtime rivals lifted him to the air. He and his wife Mirka embraced as the crowd stood in tribute.

Although the defeat was not in script, it was a night of celebration for two of the greatest – and most serious – competitors the game has ever seen. When Nadal dodges a ball flying straight for his head, Federer chuckles, breaking three decades of peace on the court.

The build-up to Federer’s retirement match was compressed into an intense week. The demand for tickets increased, they were already sold out. To see Federer one last time, unticketed fans gathered outside the field in front of big screens, queuing first to catch a glimpse of practice.

Instead of being in the spotlight, he shared the focus with his biggest competitors: Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray. In the days before the match, the “Big Four” practiced together in what Djokovic called a “once in a lifetime experience”. That camaraderie extended until dinner was prepared and presented in front of London’s illuminated Tower Bridge.

Roger Federer, left and Team Europe doubles partner Rafael Nadal congratulate Team World's Jacques Sock and Frances Tiafo after their Laver Cup loss

Roger Federer, left, and Team Europe doubles partner Rafael Nadal congratulate Team World’s Jacques Sock and Frances Tiafo after their Laver Cup loss © AFP via Getty Images

Federer is the first player in the quartet to step down. Now the question is, how long will the rest of the members remain. 23 Slam winner Serena Williams played what was probably her last match a few weeks back.

Such departures leave a void that puts pressure on the next generation – including Poland’s women’s number one Inga wistek and Spain’s top-ranked men’s player Carlos Alcaraz – to build their victories on the court into widespread fame. For what attracts new fans to tennis. ,

To emulate Federer is to turn the promise of youth into longevity. At 41, Federer’s decision to drop out in doubles instead of a grueling isolation of singles games is just another indication of how much more than 1,500 matches have taken a toll on his body.

It was his first match since a straight-set loss to Hubert Herkaz in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2021. Federer has not won a major since the Australian Open in 2018, although he came close at Wimbledon the following year when he failed to convert. Two match points against Djokovic.

Over the course of his career, Federer has collected more than $130 million in prize money and added hundreds more from lucrative sponsorship deals with Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse, with his logo prominent in the arena on Friday.

Although his record of 20 Grand Slams is no longer a record, he set new standards in men’s tennis by surpassing Pete Sampras’ old benchmark of 14 majors. While the US champion was long retired when he saw Federer break his record at Wimbledon in 2009, Nadal and Djokovic didn’t wait to call Federer to leave to move on.

But some of the Swiss great’s records hold, including being unbeaten for 237 consecutive weeks as the men’s world number one. He is also the oldest person to top the ranking. No man has won the Wimbledon title more than Federer, who won there eight times. Federer, who turned professional in 1998, was never out of a match due to injury, fatigue or any other reason.

No matter what the record books say, Federer’s final match was a reminder that artistry cannot be captured solely by statistics.

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