Swedish tennis legend Roger Federer makes his last appearance at the Laver Cup before his retirement. Federer will not compete in singles, but he has a special desire for his last doubles match: to play alongside longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal.
“Obviously the best thing would be to play here with Nadal because that was my big opponent.” Federer said during his Media accessibility in London is ahead of the competition.
The Laver Cup is a special event for Federer as he helped create it in 2017 in honor of tennis great Rod Laver. The event features the top six male players from Europe against the top six players from the rest of the world. It is not yet known if he will play Nadal this weekend as the squad will be officially announced on Thursday.
Even though the Spanish veteran Nadal has been one of Federer’s toughest rivals throughout his career, there is mutual respect and admiration between the two. WhenNadal said he was sad to see Federer retire from the sport, but that it was an “honor and privilege” for him to share the court with him and that he knew this was not the end of their friendship.
Federer had one of the best careers in sports history. His 20 Grand Slam titles are third all-time, just behind Nadal’s 22 and Novak Djokovic’s 21st. Both Federer and Djokovic missed the US Open a few weeks ago, but all three stars will be in London this coming weekend to help the European team win. Team World for the fifth year in a row.
One of the main reasons for Federer’s departure this year is his persistent injury problems. The plan for his doubles competition is that 26-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini will be a substitute player on the court and take his place if necessary. Players are normally required to play in at least one singles match, but an exception was made for Federer after he spoke to Europe captain Bjorn Borg and the ATP.
“Of course, this is an event, an ATP event that I don’t want to mess with,” Federer said. “I asked Bjorn if I would mind playing at least one double… Then I think Matteo will come in for me and play for me on Saturday.”
Federer is already hanging out in town with some teammates. Djokovic and Berrettini jumped right into the game and shared a light-hearted video while scouting Team World. Nadal hadn’t arrived yet, so he asked me to wait for him.
During a press conference in London this week, Federer took the time to reflect on his early days and how he shattered his own expectations. Federer spent a total of 310 weeks as world number one, including a record 237 consecutive weeks.
“When you have a vision to become a champion, you see how you win one tournament or maybe become the first racket of the world, but not many, many times in a row, or stay there as long as I did,” said Federer. “It was definitely special.”
The Laver Cup takes place in London at the O2 Arena hard courts in London from 23 to 25 September.