Emotional scenes as Federer leaves the court for the last time with a defeat

Roger Federer was unable to lift the curtain on his illustrious career with a final win after suffering a doubles defeat at the Laver Cup to secure a dramatic opening day ending 2-2.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion teamed up with former rival Rafael Nadal for his ‘last dance’ in London but saw his dream final ruined by Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, who won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 11-9 to cool the spirits at O2.

“We’ll get through this one way or another, won’t we?” said a clearly emotional Federer trying to stay calm for his post-game interview.

“It was a wonderful day. I said to the guys: ‘I’m happy, I’m not sad.’ It’s great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes again. Everything was the last time.

“Although I thought something was going to happen – I would pop a calf, or lock a back or something,” but added that he was happy to get away with it unscathed,” laughed Federer.

“It feels like a party to me. It’s exactly what I was hoping for.”

“It’s been a perfect trip, I would do it again.”

Onlookers inside the venue had been stunned earlier in the day when a protester ran onto the pitch and set his arm on fire during a protest against the use of private jets in the UK .

It was a distant memory when Federer started rolling back the years, but he couldn’t sustain a strong start with Team World able to level the scores after Team Europe opened a 2-0 lead early on. of the day. .

This Ryder Cup-style team competition was dreamed up by the Swiss star and kicked off in 2017 with a format that sees six of Europe’s top players take on six counterparts from the rest of the world across a mix of singles and doubles. three-day competition.

Federer had to bend his own rules to only compete in a doubles contest due to his troublesome knee injury, but produced several highlights in two hours and 14 minutes of action before retiring from competitive tennis after a long hug with old opponent Nadal and another standing. ovation.

A two-hour, 29-minute marathon clash between Andy Murray and Alex de Minaur kicked off the evening session with the Team World player winning 5-7 6-3 10-7 to bring the visitors to the table.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray had shown plenty of his trademark defense in a long battle, but it was the Aussie who kept his cool in the 10-point tiebreaker.

“I just wanted to do everything I could to get my team to win and I managed to find a way,” de Minaur said on the pitch.

“I don’t know how many tactics were there. It was being ready for a battle and for however long it would take. Andy is a hell of a player, he’s done so much for the sport and it’s great to have him around.”

A protester had made headlines during the afternoon session when he set his arm on fire in an act to highlight the climate problems linked to private jets used in the UK.

It was during a change between sets in Stefanos Tsitsipas’ 6-2 6-1 victory over Diego Schwartzman that the spectator ran onto the black court and briefly had his arm on fire before safety could to intervene.

Tsitsipas admitted: “It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what it is. I’ve never had an incident like this on the court. I hope he goes good.

Tsitsipas’ win followed Casper Ruud’s thrilling 6-4 5-7 10-7 victory over Sock early in the opening day.

Ruud received in-game coaching from his Team Europe colleagues, including Nadal, and said: “Obviously I was focused on the game and trying to win it but it’s fun, you turn around and you have Rafa on one side and Roger on the other try to help.


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