The tender gesture between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his tennis farewell that went unnoticed

Roger Federer lived an unforgettable moment on the night that ended his brilliant career. The legendary Swiss tennis player received an ovation that moved him to tears in London, where the doubles of the Laver Cup, for the European team against the Rest of the World. As statistical data it will remain that Federer, in a pair with the Spanish Rafael Nadal, fell 6-4, 6-7 and 9-11 against the Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tifoe, at the O2 Arena. However, those 17,000 spectators eagerly awaited the fourth game of the famous exhibition tournament to see the last performance of the tennis legend.

The result of the fourth game of the day was an anecdote, on a British night full of emotion and a certain nostalgia. One of the greatest tennis players in history, at 41, he said goodbye on a court. When the match ended, Federer couldn’t hold back his tearshugged each of the members of his team, led by the legendary Björn Borg, with the Serbian Novak Djokovic, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, the British Andy Murray and the Italian Matteo Berrettini, and continued with the delegation from the Rest of the World, including the Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

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The 20-time Grand Slam winner wept uncontrollably for several minutes and greeted the crowd at the O2 Arena with his arm raised. One of the most shared postcards was the emotion and the tears that Rafa Nadal could not contain being by his side. And one Photo in which both are seen holding hands went viral.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal hold hands on a night of deep emotion for the Swiss tennis farewell (Reuters / Andrew Boyers) (ANDREW BOYERS /)

After a video broadcast by the organization of the Laver Cup, Federer took the microphone for his first statements: “It was an incredible day, I am happy, not sad and it was a pleasure to be here. I enjoyed this moment, with family, friends and fans. I’m happy I did and the match was great.”

The Olympic champion tennis player in Beijing 2008, in doubles together with Stanislas Wawrinka, interrupted his speech on different occasions overcome by emotion: “Living this was exactly how I wanted, thank you. I was happy playing tennis, I would do everything the same again. Thank you all. Many people supported me. I had a great time in these 30 years. Everyone is here, my children, my wife.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
Roger Federer (SUI) and Rafael Nadal (ESP) cry after their final Laver Cup Tennis match (Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

And he concluded: “My parents were incredible, without them I would not be here. I had a fantastic night and thanks to everyone”.

Federer’s word also generated tears from Nadal, captured by television cameras, and from his wife, former Swiss tennis player Mirka Vavrinec.

Federer announced his retirement from tennis earlier after verifying that his physical condition was not optimal after three operations on his right knee that left him unable to compete this season. Before the match at the Laver Cup, Federer’s last record on a court dated back to July 7, 2021, when he lost in the Wimbledon quarterfinals against Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-6 (7- 4) and 6-0.

Federer began his professional career in 1998. In total he won 103 ATP titles, with 1,251 wins and 275 losses, which cost him $130,594,339 in prize money.

The Swiss legend was number one in the world for 310 weeks (February 2004-June 2018) and became the oldest to achieve that position at 36 years old and the one with the most consecutive weeks (237).

In his outstanding track record, the 20 Grand Slams stand out (6 in Australia, one at Roland Garros, 8 at Wimbledon and 5 at the US Open); the record for tournament wins at Basel (10), Halle (10), Wimbledon (8), ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (7), and Nitto ATP Finals (6).

In addition, he had a streak of 41 consecutive wins (2006-07), 17 consecutive finals (2005-06), a series of 24 final wins (2003-05), 24 consecutive wins against “top ten” players (2003-05) and he won 65 wins in a row on grass (2003–08).


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