Rafael Nadal had the honor to perform alongside Roger Federer in the Swiss’ last match in a career. Roger ended his incredible tennis journey at the Laver Cup in September, playing one doubles match against his great friend and embracing an emotional farewell alongside his family.
Rafa called it a memorable night that brought emotions and beautiful feelings. Two legends lost to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 after wasting a match point on one of the most emotional nights in tennis history.
The packed O2 Arena in London feels Roger into legend, alongside his teammates and rivals on the court. Roger experienced an emotional post-match ceremony, thanking his teammates on the bench before waving to the crowd. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and Cameron Norrie supported Roger and highlighted his incredible career.
Roger picked Rafa as his partner for his last career match, and they gave their everything against the younger Americans. Both teams settled into a fine rhythm in the encounter’s opening eight games before Nadal faced problems on serve at 4-4.
Federer saved a break point with a smash winner and fired another direct point to wrap up the game. Team Europe came from 40-15 down in the tenth game and earned a set point after Roger’s volley winner. The legends seized it after Sock’s error to claim the opener 6-4 and gain a boost.
Federer and Tiafoe served well at the start of the second set before Nadal got broken in game three. Roger and Rafa pulled the break back at 15 in game six to level the score at 3-3 and gain a boost.
Roger Federer ended his career at the Laver Cup.
Federer clinched the ninth game with two service winners at deuce, and Tiafoe served to prolong the duel at 4-5.
Sock secured the tenth game with a smash winner before Nadal faced six break points at 5-5. The Spaniard and the Swiss denied them and held with a service winner. Team Europe stood two points from victory in game 12, but Sock stayed calm to introduce a tie break.
The Americans opened a 4-2 gap and extended it when Federer’s forehand landed long. Frances forced Roger’s mistake in the ninth point to wrap up a tie break and introduce a match tie break. Nadal raised his level and grabbed the opening three points for an early advantage.
The Americans bounced back and moved 4-3 up thanks to Sock’s great point. Jack claimed another at 4-4 while falling at the net before Rafa painted a volley winner for 5-5. Federer feels Team Europe 6-5 up with an ace, and Sock landed a service winner to follow that pace.
Roger placed a volleyball winner at the net for 7-7, just like in the good old days. Two legends fought back to 8-8 and refused to surrender. Tiafoe netted a backhand and offered Team Europe the first match point. The Swiss failed to pick up a forehand and continued the battle at 9-9.
Frances fired a return winner for 10-9 and the first match point. Sock landed a forehand down the line winner to seal the deal and send Roger Federer into a well-deserved retirement. “It was a beautiful day, emotional, but also sad.
A legend of world sport has retired, without a doubt. He was an adventure companion. We shared many years on the circuit and many important moments that we competed together. I am happy because Roger got an unforgettable night in London on his farewell, with the affection of so many people worldwide.
He deserves it for being a great example and an icon. In that sense, for me to be part of his last professional moment was a hard day, but with many emotions,” Rafael Nadal said.