Roger Federer will play the final game of his career alongside great Spanish rival Rafael Nadal at Friday night’s Laver Cup at London’s O2.
Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg fulfilled his wish to compete alongside his oldest and greatest rival after the 20-time Grand Slam champion said playing with Nadal “would be the best”.
Federer and Nadal, a 22-time major winner, will take on Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock at approximately 9pm BST.
Previously, Andy Murray, who made his debut at the Ryder Cup-style event, took on Australian Alex De Minaur.
Federer announced last week that he would end his professional tennis career after the Laver Cup.
He says he’s “fallen in love with too many things” to walk away from tennis, with the 41-year-old vowing to somehow stay involved and not become a “ghost”.
Federer, whose most recent match was a loss to Hubert Hurkacz in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals, is struggling with a knee problem.
“It was time for me to retire. I don’t think that moment like that comes overnight. It was a process – an emotional process – which I thought we had sorted out in the end, with the family , the team, my best friends,” said Federer.
“It all worked out and here we are now at the Laver Cup. But it was definitely more of a highly unusual last few weeks for me.”
Speaking at a packed press conference at the O2, the 41-year-old explained that he has plans to stay involved in tennis in the future, saying: “I wanted to let the fans know I won’t be a ghost.
“I was talking about (Europe captain) Bjorn Borg. I don’t think he returned to Wimbledon 25 years ago. I don’t think I will be that man and I feel like tennis has given me too much. I’m in near the played a game for too long fell in love with too many things.
“I love seeing people again, and that’s kind of what I wanted to let the fans know that you’ll see me again. Not just never again. What it could be, in what capacity, I don’t know. So I have to think about it a little more, but give myself time.”
What will Federer miss most?
“I don’t want to say love-hate, but the things you’re going to miss, you’re glad you don’t have to do them again,” the Swiss admitted. “I like to tie my shoes, get ready, put on the bandana, I look in the mirror, are we ready for this? Yeah, okay, let’s go.
“As much as I love it, I’m glad I don’t have to go through it again. With those knots in my stomach, waiting all day, having breakfast, thinking about tonight, I’ve got another big match. Oh “I have to wait another 15 hours for it.”
‘Serena and I were the bridge between the old and the new generation’
Speak with air sportsFederer reflected on his retirement and Serena Williams’ retirement, saying it was a privilege for both of them to play for generations.
Asked about what they had brought to the sport, Federer said: “Several things, sure. But in the end we both did it as moms and dads.
“When we were young, making it on tour, we never thought we would end up (like this). I think we were definitely the bridge from the old generation to the new generation, which I think is a privilege for me was to play like that across generations, and the same for her.
“I think she brought the power play like no other and being a game-changer is something I think is the greatest compliment. I don’t know if I did, but I did it my way and I hope people like it.” liked to watch i play so long.
“I would always like to return to tennis in some form, but I don’t know in what capacity.”
I still think tennis is going to be very exciting and we probably don’t know exactly how it will go, but we will see ridiculous defenses, incredible strength and great personalities. I will be their biggest fan. It will be all right.
Federer not so positive about serving and volley
The eight-time Wimbledon champion praised the next generation of players coming through, including the world’s new No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, but says athletics and coverage on all courts is slowly taking over from the traditional serve and volley.
“The best movers are the best players,” he said. “It’s been that way for the last 10, 20 years now, and it’s going to stay that way, when you see what they can do. I think it will stay that way.
“I’m not very positive about serving and volleying. I think it’s easier to stay on the baseline after the serve.
“There are definitely ways to play an all-court game, a transition game, which I loved to play. I loved my half volleys, loved my transition game. I knew that if I hit the service line, that’s an approach opportunity for my opponent They’re coming So that’s why I better play a meter to the baseline and then I can hold them back If something is short they come in.
“Nowadays, that is not the case. I still think tennis is going to be very exciting and we probably don’t know exactly how it will go, but we will see ridiculous defenses, incredible strength and amazing personalities. They will be their biggest fan. It’s coming all correct.”
Federer’s career in numbers
- 20 – Grand Slam titles
- 31 – Grand Slam Final
- 23 – Consecutive appearances in the Grand Slam semifinals from 2004 to 2010, an all-time record
- 36 – Consecutive appearances in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam
- 65 – Consecutive Grand Slam appearances from the 2000 Australian Open to the 2016 French Open
- 8 – Wimbledon titles, most of all men
- 6 – Australian Open titles
- 5 – US Open titles
- 1 – French Open title
- 1,251 – career games won from 1,526
- 369 – Match wins in Grand Slams
- 22 – Consecutive appearances at Wimbledon
- 310 – spent weeks at world number 1, 237 of them consecutively
- 36 – At 36 years and 320 days, Federer was the world’s oldest No. 1 in ATP history
- 5 – Federer has reached the final at least five times in each Grand Slam
- 103 – career titles, second in the Open era behind Jimmy Connors
- 6 – titles won at the 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 – won games out of 97 played in 2006
- 65 – consecutive matches won on grass from 2003 to 2008
- 3 – Federer reached the finals of all Grand Slams in three different seasons
- 2 – Olympic medals; gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and silver in singles in 2012
- 24 – losses to his great rival Rafael Nadal from 40 matches
- 130,594,339 – career prize money (US dollars)
- 550 million – estimated net worth (USD)
London a special place in Federer’s heart
This city and its fans have given me a lot, so I thought it was appropriate to end it here.
“The Laver Cup will be my last kind of active tournament that I will play. It feels good. I think it’s a lovely place. With Bjorn Borg as my captain, you can imagine that means the world to me. And I think it will be very special to do it here in London,” said Federer.
“I think it will be great just because the city has given me two World Tour Finals wins here to close out an incredible year that I probably already had those years. And then on the road at Wimbledon that there eight times plus juniors wins.
“This city and its fans have given me a lot, so I thought it was appropriate to end it here. I will not stop playing tennis, only I will not play for points anymore. I will continue to play with my kids, with my friends, I hope to play exhibitions in the future and continue to promote the game and play in places I’ve never played before. So I’m really looking forward to that in the future.”
Borg and McEnroe praise Roger
“Everyone loves him and he also supports it because he’s such a great person on top of everything else. If there’s one thing I’m jealous of, it’s his absolute love for the sport,” said seven-time Grand Slam champion. McEnroe. “He likes everything.
“He made the difficult look easy. That’s the best quality. If you can have that in tennis, you’re in good shape.”
Borg, a five-time Wimbledon champion, said: “Federer was an artist. It’s as simple as that and so difficult, but he did everything that many people would love to do on a tennis court.”