Roger Federer leaves on a defeat alongside Rafael Nadal but on a sublime farewell

The legend left the courts on a setback. After announcing his retirement on September 15, Roger Federer, associated in doubles with Rafael Nadal, played and lost the last match of his career against the duo Frances Tiafoe – Jack Sock (4-6, 7-6, 11-9 ), Friday September 23 on behalf of the Laver Cup 2022. A conclusion in a frustrating sense, but above all full of suspense and at the height of the symbolism that this meeting carried. The emotional ceremony that followed the last exchange completed these forever historic moments.

In a jam-packed O2 Arena in London, which only had eyes for the Swiss, the “Fedal” tandem took great pleasure in celebrating the Swiss’ twilight. For their last, the two rivals and friends did not just play a jubilee. But they did honor to Federer’s immense career by tearing themselves away until the end of a super tie-break full of very high level points from both pairs. All in a good-natured atmosphere, between hilarious players and thrilled audience.

At 41, the Swiss was obviously not at his physical peak, 15 months after his last official meeting, a quarter-final lost at Wimbledon. But he was still technically dashing, serving impeccably and having lost none of his reflexes at the net. To wonder even if the best player of the match was not the one who lived the last of his life as a tennis player. Veteran Federer even had a bit of rookie luck in the third game, getting the ball through the tiny hole between the post and the net, the cat’s equivalent of a scaled needle. ‘a tennis court. A blow to the “Roger” in short.

The two faults of Jack Sock on the fly to offer the first set on their first opportunity to Federer and Nadal, the break conceded on the face-off of the Spaniard in the second set, the equalization of Team World at the end of this first day of the Laver Cup (2-2)… All this remains purely anecdotal. Because this match remains in the annals as a successful goodbye to Roger Federer. The bruised body, too much to be able to fight for the duration of a season or even a tournament, Federer could hardly have hoped for a better end than that of a match where nothing was offered to him, except a good and beautiful moment of tennis. The image of a still immense champion, far from an ex-cador a little was.

This is how an entire chapter in the history of tennis closes, with 20 Grand Slam tournaments, six Masters and 28 Masters 1000. Relive this evening which will remain assured as one of the highlights of the sporting year, and more widely in the annals of sport. Because there will be a before, and an after Roger Federer.

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