Rafael Nadal has admitted he found playing in what was ‘s final tennis match difficult as the Swiss star took to the court for the last time as a player.
The pair have been responsible for one of sport’s greatest rivalries, with both of them pushing each other to achieve a level of excellence few could have ever expected to see on a tennis court.
The two legends actually lost their Laver Cup doubles match 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 11-9 to Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, but the game was just a sidestory with the spotlight on Federer. After the match, both Nadal and Federer failed to hold back the tears.
When pressed for comment on how it felt to be lining up alongside Federer as a teammate in his final match, Nadal said: “Well, difficult. I have to say that first couple of serves for me were super difficult. I was not able to do the normal movement. I started with double fault (smiling).
“I was shaking a little bit. Have been a difficult day to handle every single thing, and at the end everything become super emotional. For me, have been huge honor to be a part of this amazing moment of the history of our sport, and at the same time a lot of years sharing a lot of things together.”
Nadal went on to explain how Federer’s departure will impact him, given that so many of the greatest moments of his own career have seen the Swiss star present. “When Roger leaves the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments that he have been next or in front me in important moments of my life.
As the crowd hung on his every word, Federer conceded he had considered retiring a month earlier. “Look, the Laver Cup happened to be in this time of year. I was considering doing it a month earlier. We had long talks with Tony about it, as well. I just felt if I announced it, I had to be there. I couldn’t not be there.
“I just felt I would be horribly unhappy about just calling it and nobody knows what I’m doing. I go about my normal life. And people, like, Oh, so you’re retired? Yeah, I’m done. Okay, cool. I didn’t want it to be that way.”
Federer late told reporters that this was not the last they’ll see of the 20-time Grand Slam champion. “This is not the end-end, you know, life goes on, I’m healthy, I’m happy, everything’s great.”
“The message from me was just making sure I relay my passion for the sport to the fans, and I let them know that hopefully we’ll see each other again on a different type of tennis court somewhere around the world.”