Roger Federer has decided to punctuate his legendary career in exceedingly appropriate fashion by representing Team Europe alongside longtime rival and close friend, Rafael Nadal, in the Laver Cup doubles.
The powerhouse duo are scheduled to face Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 Arena, London; immediately after another modern tennis great, Andy Murray, has a singles match against Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
“I’m not sure if I can handle it all but I’ll try,” said Roger Federer, 41, who only made his retirement announcement a week ago.
“I have had some tougher moments as well in the past, being horribly nervous all these years sometimes before matches. This one definitely feels a whole lot different.”
“Of course, it’s super special playing with Rafa. I’m happy to have him on my team and not playing against him.”
Rafael Nadal is similarly looking forward to an “unforgettable” match next side by side with the man whose very existence was an integral component within his engine of motivation.
“One of the most important – if not the most important – player in my tennis career is leaving,” said Rafa, 36, who entered the professional scene as a teenage prodigy intent on chasing down the Swiss counterpart five years his senior.
“At the end, this moment will be difficult. I’m super excited and grateful to play with him.”
Between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, they’ve won 42 grand slam titles, played against one another 40 times (with Nadal leading 24–16 overall, 14–10 in finals), and spent a collective 519 weeks as world #1.
Soak it in, folks. We’re bearing witness to the end of an era.