Tennis legend Roger Federer tried to hold back tears after finishing the last match of his career at O2’s London.
The sports star ended his professional tennis career at the age of 41 with a doubles defeat, when he played alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup.
Apparently very emotional, he paid tribute to his wife Mirka and declared himself “happy and not sad”.
Last week, the 20-time Grand-slam champion announced he would be eliminated from competitive tennis with a final match at Ryder Cup-style competition, which is his brainchild.
London is the destination for the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, the city of some of Federer’s greatest feats, but the Swiss superstar couldn’t add another victory to his illustrious CV.
Team World duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe proved the pantomime villains with a 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 victory at 02 but it was still a celebration for the 41st player. age.
Federer enjoyed a long hug with former team-mate Nadal late in the match before he was given a final standing ovation by a ticketed crowd despite the clocks past midnight on Friday.
‘We’ll get through this’
“We’re going to get through this somehow,” Federer said on the court.
“Look, it’s been a great day. I told you I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I’d love to lace up my shoes again.
“Everything is the last. It’s funny with all the games, being with the boys, having family and friends, I don’t feel so stressed that even when I feel something it’s going to happen in the game. I’m so glad I got through and the game was great. I couldn’t be happier.
“Of course playing with Rafa on the same team, having all the people here, the legends, Rocket (Rod Laver), Stefan Edberg, thanks.
“It’s really a memory for me. I wanted to feel like this in the end and it’s exactly what I was hoping for so thank you guys.
“It was a perfect journey and I would do it all again…”
The great era of tennis is coming to an end
Federer had to hold back tears before he thanked his wife Mirka, who watched him fight through multiple knee surgeries before he finally conceded defeat in the chase to become a champion. again last week.
His right knee had surgery to repair – the last of the three surgeries came shortly after the Wimbledon quarter-final loss in July 2021, which will end in his final official singles match. him – leaving him out of shape to be able to continue.
He added: “Thank you everyone. I had so many people cheering for me and you guys here tonight means the world.
“My wife has been very supportive… she could have stopped me a long, long time ago but she didn’t. She held me back and allowed me to play, thank you. She how wonderful.”
His retirement became hot after Serena Williams was given an emotional farewell at the US Opena sign that an important era of tennis is coming to an end.