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Federer’s final match comes in doubles alongside rival Nadal Nakashima takes first ATP Tour title at San Diego Frances Tiafoe lifts Team World to 1st Laver Cup win

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LONDON. It was a veritable collection of tennis celebrities sharing the black indoor hard court at Laver Cup doubles practice, with 66 Grand Slam titles among them, a group called the Big Four: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the same side of the net. ; Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on the other.

Founded by his management company, this team event marks the end of Federer’s career, and his last match will be alongside longtime European rival Nadal against world team doubles Francis Tiafoe and Jack Sock.

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“I’m not sure I can handle all this. But I’ll try,” the 41-year-old Federer said of his probably emotional farewell on the court after 20 major championships, a total of 103 tournament titles and hundreds of weeks at number one for almost a quarter of a century as a professional tennis player.

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“Sitting here,” Federer said at a team press conference on Thursday, with Nadal, 36, to his left and Djokovic and Murray, both 35, a couple of seats to his right, “it’s nice to have me going first. from guys. It seems right.”

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Federer ends his playing days after a series of surgeries on his right knee. He has not competed since losing the Wimbledon quarter-finals to Hubert Hurkacs in July 2021.

In February of this year, when it was revealed that Federer would be in London this week, he said that Nadal sent him a message asking him to play doubles together again. They teamed up to win the doubles match during the first Laver Cup in 2017.

“I saw him play on TV before he came on tour. I saw him succeed on TV and then (we were able to) create an amazing rivalry together. On the other hand, what we are probably very proud of is the friendly rivalry,” Nadal said on Thursday. “Tomorrow will be something special. Difficult. It will be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, no doubt. But for me too. Eventually, one of the most important players – if not the most important player – in my tennis career is leaving.”

They played each other in singles 40 times (Nadal won 26), including 14 Grand Slams (Nadal won 10). Nadal came out on top in their 2008 Wimbledon Classic Final, considered by some to be the greatest match ever; Federer won their last fight in the 2019 All England semi-finals.

“Participating in this historic moment,” Nadal said of Friday, “will be something amazing, something unforgettable.”

Tiafoe, the 24-year-old American who beat Nadal en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open this month, deadpanned: “Yeah, I’m just excited to play two promising players tomorrow.”

Tiafoe added: “Being a part of this will be a milestone. Both guys are absolute legends. And obviously (this is) Roger’s last dance.”

The full line-up for the first day of the three-day Laver Cup was announced on Thursday.

The singles will take place in Soca against two-time 2022 Grand Slam finalist Kasper Ruud of the European team, Diego Schwartzman of the world team against 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas of the European team and Alex de Minaura of the world team against a three-time Major. champion Murray before the Federer-Nadal doubles closes the schedule.

Everyone knows what the main event will be: farewell to Federer.

“For me,” Murray said, “it’s nice to see him and Rafa together on the same side of the net.”

SAN DIEGO — Brandon Nakashima earned his first ATP Tour victory in his hometown by defeating friend and fellow Southern Californian Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 in the San Diego Open final.

“It’s super special that you dream of, but having it happen in my hometown with all my friends and family is a moment I will never forget,” said Nakashima, who has competed in the finals twice. “Hopefully there are many more moments like this ahead.”

Nakashima, a 21-year-old who grew up in San Diego and trained extensively at the venue as a junior, won the first set in just 30 minutes. The second set, filled with long draws, lasted almost an hour.

Chiron, the No. 5 seed and former NCAA title holder from UCLA, was unable to fend off Nakashima’s persistent ground shots and accurate pitches. Nakashima had eight aces, six in the first set.

Serving 5-4 in the second set, Nakashima scored two game-deciding points when Chiron landed a light volley into the net, followed by Nakashima’s ace on the second serve.

He earned $93,090, about half of what he earned for reaching the third round of the US Open in early September.

Nakashima, ranked 69th on the ATP Tour, rose to 48th, his highest ranking in almost three years of the tour. Despite the loss, Chiron went from 58 to 53.

Not only did an American take the singles title, but the doubles title also went to an American duo as second seeded Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Whitrow defeated Aussies Jason Kubler and Luke Saville 7-6(5), 6-2.

The $612,000 event took place at the Barnes Tennis Center, where the $757,900 WTA 500 Open San Diego Open will take place October 8-16. 1 Igoy Svyatek.

LONDON — Francis Tiafoe, the last to arrive, true to his reputation in the locker room, stepped into the post-match press conference after Team World’s Laver Cup victory over Europe’s star team Roger Federer and yelled, “The Champions are here!”

The 24-year-old from Maryland then joined his teammates at the table where the silver trophy rested on Sunday night, set down a bottle of water, pulled a Budweiser from under his red jacket and smiled broadly.

Performing with the same infectious spectacle and success he showed en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open earlier this month, Tiafoe racked up four match points and returned to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 ( 11), 10-8, which brought Team World the first triumph in five editions of the tournament organized by Federer’s management company.

“I don’t like to lose,” said Federer, the 20-time world champion, whose last match before retiring was lost with Rafael Nadal in doubles against Thiafo and Jack Sock on Friday night. “It’s not fun. It just doesn’t leave the best taste.”

As Tsitsipas hit a right into the net to end Sunday’s bout and three-day competition, Tiafoe dropped his racquet and fell flat on his back on the court, where teammates piled on top of him. Getting to his feet, Tiafoe put his hand to his ear, asking the audience to make more noise, then pointed to his chest and shouted: “I am he! I am he!”

“When everything turns into a circus here, and I just use the crowd, act like a little child and get a bunch of reactions … In the end, I play very well and start to gain momentum,” said Tiafoe. “I seem to be able to play and function better than my opponents.”

Using the nickname other players have given Tiafoe to reflect how he perceives big moments, Team World captain John McEnroe said: “Francis is ‘prime time.’ He loves this business.”

McEnroe was 0-4 leading his team against his former playing rival, European captain Bjorn Borg; both have indicated they will be returning for the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver, but this could be their last round.

It served as a celebration of the career of Federer and the 41-year-old Swiss star.

Tiafoe responded with a joke when asked if he could owe Federer some form of “sorry” for beating him in the final or for beating his team, which also included Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, for a total of 66 big singles. titles. This, by the way, is 66 more than Team World, which consists of 20-year-olds (Sok turned 30 on Saturday).

“I’m not going to apologize to him. He has a lot to apologize for in the last 24 years after beating everyone on the tour,” said Tiafoe, who went 0-3 against Federer in singles. “I will say thank you for inviting me to this amazing event, for what he did for the game. He is class act. Glad to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and wish you all the best in the second act. But I won’t apologize.”

Team Europe entered the O2 Arena on Sunday with an 8-4 lead; the first team to score 13 points wins.

Each match on Day 3 brought in three points and Team World took the lead thanks to a pair of victories from Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old Canadian. He beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), after partnering with Soc to beat Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in doubles.

Tiafoe then made it 13-8 but it wasn’t easy.

He set an 8-0 tournament record in Flushing Meadows tiebreaks this month and was just as tenacious on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time since Francis played the big guys up close and lost a lot of close quarters. It’s nice to see him winning lately,” said Taylor Fritz, an American who is Tiafoe’s age and has known him for many years. “The time has come when he will perform and the matches will go the other way. Today was a joke.”

This is because Tiafoe was one point away from losing to Tsitsipas four times in a tiebreak in the second set, but somehow pulled it off. Then, at 4-all in the final tiebreaker match – first to 10, a win by two – Tiafoe ran from behind the back line to the net and barely made it to Tsitsipas’ throw, somehow lunging to catch corner winner.

While most of the 16,365 fans were going crazy, Tiafoe walked around the net and froze with his hands on his hips, enjoying the atmosphere.

“We put him where he was today for a reason,” said Team World’s Tommy Paul, another 24-year-old American, “and he helped us, which is no small feat.”


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