LONDON — After 24 years on the ATP Tour, with 20 Grand Slam titles and 103 tournament wins worldwide, Roger Federer played his last professional match on Friday night, partnering his old rival Rafael Nadal in doubles for the fifth Laver Cup.

Although he and Nadal ended up losing the match to Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe, it was as interesting as expected. Here’s what happened:

Failed to close the deal

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It’s over and it wasn’t in the script. In the final tie-break, Federer and Nadal had a 9-8 match point but failed to take it. Sok and Tiafoe won the tiebreak 11–9.

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“It was a wonderful day,” Federer said on the court after the match. “I told the guys that I’m not sad, I’m happy. For me, it’s like a holiday. This is exactly what I was hoping for.”

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It’s not a fairy tale ending, but that doesn’t matter. What a great match and what a career Federer has. — Simon Cumbers

On a tie-break

We must pay tribute to the Americans – they played well in the tie-break to win the second set. Federer’s final match will be decided in a 10-point tie-break. — Bends

First set for Federer and Nadal

The biggest excitement was the dressing up, especially when one person took off about 10 shirts to the sound of “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol.

The first break point of the match goes to the world team on Nadal’s serve, but Federer parries an easy shot and then, two points later, fires a volley to stay ahead 5-4. Federer then hits two ground strikes to break and take the first set 6-4. — Bends

The wildest moment yet

I bet even Federer hasn’t done this before: at 1-1, 40-15 on his serve, he somehow hits the ball into a tiny hole in the net on a passing shot. He loses a point, but still holds the serve correctly. Should he really retire?

“My eye is still fine. I saw him pass,” he said afterwards.

During the shift, a tribute to his rivals and family is shown on a large video screen. It’s going to be really hard for Federer to get through this without bursting into tears.

It’s not a carnival atmosphere – when the world team scores, applause is heard – but the crowd comes alive every time Federer and Nadal do something. Let’s not forget that each of them has won Olympic gold medals in doubles: Federer with Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and Nadal with Mark Lopez in 2016. It won’t be easy for Sock and Tiafoe. — Bends

Finally begins

The first match of the night took a little longer than expected as Alex de Minaur finally defeated Murray after nearly 2.5 hours, but now we’re ready for Federer’s last match. Celebrities in the House: Rod Laver, of course, plus Anna Wintour, Bear Grylls, Stan Smith and Hugh Grant, among others, we’re sure. Stefan Edberg flips a coin – he coached Federer for two years.

Every throw by Federer, not to mention the winning shot, causes a deafening roar. He said he wanted it to be a holiday, and it is. — Bends

Waiting for the start

Due to the lengthy battle between Murray and De Minor in the first leg of the evening – the first set alone lasted 81 minutes – Federer and Nadal had to wait longer than expected to enter the court. While this delay likely took an emotional toll on Federer, it provided the opportunity for some truly epic moments between the two legends as they watched backstage together and reacted accordingly. — D’Arcy Maine

Cooking for the last time

History of #TeamFedal

Although Federer and Nadal have shared the court many times over the years, this is only the second time they have played together in doubles. They teamed up for the first time at the first Laver Cup in 2017, facing Sok, as they did on Friday, and Sam Querrey.

At the time, Federer and Nadal only trained together once in their careers, which Federer revealed during the tournament. They each also played (and won) their singles matches earlier in the day, but unsurprisingly the duo still won the match 6-4, 1-6, 10-5. Of course, there were many noteworthy moments, and even more laughter, high fives and gift-worthy celebrations.

After the match, Nadal said that this partnership was what he had wanted for a long time.

“Being able to have Roger by my side is a huge privilege and I wanted it to happen at some point,” Nadal said. “Today was the perfect day for that to happen, wasn’t it?” — Maine

farewell to Federer

Last week, Federer announces his decision to retire from tennisafter confirming that his recovery from right knee surgery in 2021 was not as good as he had hoped.

It ended the career of one of the greatest men’s tennis players of all time. Federer has won eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Opens, five US Opens and one French Open title, dominating men’s tennis for many years.

The 41-year-old, who hopes to play exhibition matches in the future and has pledged to stay close to tennis, said on Thursday that he is looking forward to facing Nadal, whom he has faced 40 times, including nine times. Grand Slam Final.

“Of course it’s a special game with Rafa,” Federer said. “It’s a completely different feeling. Getting on the court and being able to play with players like Rafa or Novak in the past has been an amazing experience for me. be wonderful. I will try my best. I hope to be good there. Of course, I will like it, but it will be hard.”

Nadal said he couldn’t wait.

“After all that we have done together on and off the court, being part of this historic moment will be something amazing and unforgettable for me,” he said. — Bends

big four together

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray will meet for the first time in the Laver Cup.

The quartet have won 66 Grand Slam titles and 329 tournaments among them, as well as played many Grand Slam finals.

Federer said that having them by his side was a good change.

“I am very happy to have them on our team, my team, and not play against them in my last match,” he said.

Murray, who was scheduled to play the Friday before the Federer-Nadal doubles match, agreed.

“I think the atmosphere will be incredible,” he said. “Playing in front of Roger and Rafa at night will be really special.” — Bends

Can Team World break through?

The Europe team led by Bjorn Borg has won all four previous tournaments against the World team led by John McEnroe.

Although Europe won 13–11 in the 2019 match, last year Europe thrashed the world team 14–1 and again entered the match as big favourites.

McEnroe knows he’s under pressure to perform but says there could be a window of opportunity with the likes of Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassim in his lineup.

“Bjorn has a dream team, but you have Roger announcing his retirement, Andy struggling to get back to the same healthy state he was before, and Rafa’s wife at home expecting a baby, so it inspires us some hope,” McEnroe told the London Evening. standard newspaper. — Curves

Cup making 101

Each day consists of four matches – three singles and one doubles – and each win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday. The first team to score 13 wins the competition and if it is tied at 12-12, a decisive fifth match will be played.

Each match is the best of three sets, although the third set is a 10-point tie-break. — Curves