Roger Federer was in tears despite losing the final game of his professional career alongside doubles partner Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion teamed up with former rival Rafael Nadal for his final match in London but saw his dream final ruined by Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, who won 4-6 7-6 (7 -2) 11-9 against cooling the spirits in front of a packed crowd at the O2.
Federer enjoyed a long hug with old opponent Nadal at the end of the game before receiving a final standing ovation from a sold-out crowd as the clock was well past midnight.
“We’re going to get out of this one way or another,” Federer said on the pitch. “Listen, it’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy, I’m not sad. It’s great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes once again.
“Everything was last time. Quite funny with all the games, being with the guys and having family and friends, I didn’t feel the stress so much although I felt like something was going to happen during the game. I’m so glad I did I made it and the game was great I couldn’t be happier.
“Of course, playing with Rafa in the same team, having all the guys here, the legends, Rocket (Rod Laver), Stefan Edberg, thank you.
“It feels like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this at the end and that’s exactly what I was hoping for, so thank you.
“It was a perfect trip and I would do it again…”
Federer had started to roll 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 in 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 his defeat.
The Swiss tall thanked his wife Mirka, who watched him struggle through a succession of knee surgeries before finally admitting defeat in his quest to return last week.
He added: “Thank you all. I’ve had so many people cheering me on and you guys here tonight mean the world.
“My wife has been so supportive…she could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She allowed me to keep going and playing, so thank you. She’s unbelievable.”
Federer’s career in numbers
- 20 – Grand Slam titles
- 31 – Grand Slam Finals
- 23 – consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals from 2004 to 2010, an all-time record
- 36 – consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances
- 65 – consecutive Grand Slam appearances from Australian Open in 2000 to French Open in 2016
- 8 – Wimbledon titles, the most of any man
- 6 – Australian Open titles
- 5 – US Open titles
- 1 – French Open Title
- 1,251 – career games won out of 1,526
- 369 – Grand Slam wins
- 22 – consecutive appearances at Wimbledon
- 310 – weeks spent at world number 1, including 237 consecutively
- 36 – At 36 years and 320 days, Federer was the oldest world number 1 in ATP history
- 5 – Federer has reached the final at every Grand Slam at least five times
- 103 – career titles, second in the Open era behind Jimmy Connors
- 6 – titles won at ATP Finals, an all-time record
- 10 – titles won at the ATP events in Basel and Halle
- 12 – titles won in 2006, his most successful season
- 92 – matches won out of 97 played in 2006
- 65 – consecutive matches won on grass from 2003 to 2008
- 3 – Federer has reached the final of every Grand Slam tournament in three different seasons
- 2 – Olympic medals; gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and silver in singles in 2012
- 24 – defeats against arch-rival Rafael Nadal in 40 matches
- 130,594,339 – career price (US dollars)
- 550 million – estimated net worth (USD)
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 for 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 however long it took. Andy is a hell of a player, he’s done so much for the sport and it’s just brilliant to ‘have around him.’