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All-time great Roger Federer lost the final

The great Roger Federer played his last match on the pro scene, ending a career defined by his shot technique, trophy-winning performances and skirmishes with elite opponents. during the golden age of men’s tennis.

In a doubles match that ran from Friday night to Saturday, the Swiss paired up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal to split. They lost 6-4, 6-7, 9-11 to American duo Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, who won after a grueling tiebreak to decide the winner. But this match is more important than the result.

“We’re going to get through this somehow,” Federer said in tears after the match. “It was a perfect journey and I would do it all again.”

On the Laver Cup’s signature charcoal gray surface, Federer reminds the world of the power to captivate fans and dazzle opponents in a career coming to an end due to injury. However, he also showed a lack of sharpness when hitting an own goal that led to a failure in the second set.

Federer and Nadal were prompted by their on-court teammates, with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic offering tactical advice between points. Fans at the O2 Arena in south-east London celebrated Federer’s every move, including an early strike that somehow slipped through a gap between the net and assist.

However, Federer and his team-mate turned rival the Spaniard fought hard for Team Europe in front of Team World representatives in a tournament he helped launch as the sport’s answer. his sport in the Ryder Cup golf competition.

Federer and Nadal cried together as the curtain fell over one of sport’s greatest stories, a career won that far outweighs losses. Longtime opponents lifted him into the air. He and his wife Mirka hugged and kissed as the crowd stood in remembrance.

Though the defeat wasn’t in the script, it was a celebratory night for two of the biggest – and most serious – opponents the sport has ever seen. When Nadal almost dodged a ball that went straight to his head, Federer was dumbfounded, breaking three decades of calm on the court.

Federer’s preparations for his retirement match have piled up into a tense week. Demand for tickets skyrocketed. They have been sold out. Ticketless fans gathered in front of the big screens outside the arena to see Federer one last time, having lined up earlier for a quick glimpse of practice.

Instead of blocking the limelight, he shares the spotlight with his biggest rivals: Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray. In the days leading up to the game, the “Big Four” got together to practice in what Djokovic called a “once in a lifetime experience”. That camaraderie extends to inviting each other to dinner and posing by London’s illuminated Tower Bridge.

Roger Federer, left, and Team Europe's doubles teammate Rafael Nadal congratulate Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of Team World after their Laver Cup defeat

Roger Federer, left, and Team Europe’s doubles teammate Rafael Nadal congratulate Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of Team World after their Laver Cup defeat © AFP via Getty Images

Federer was the first of the quartet to retire. The question now is how long the remaining members will continue. What did Serena Williams, 23-time slam winner, play maybe her last match just a few weeks ago.

Such a departure leaves space to put pressure on the next generation – including female number one Iga Świątek of Poland and first place male tennis player Carlos Alcaraz of Spain – to build their victories on the court. into a kind of broader reputation that attracts new fans to tennis .

Emulating Federer is turning the promise of youth into eternity. At 41, Federer’s decision to hit doubles rather than exhausting singles isolation is just another sign of how more than 1,500 matches have affected his body.

It was his first match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in consecutive sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2021. Federer has not won a starter since the 2018 Australian Open, although he did arrive. close at Wimbledon the following year when he failed to convert. two points against Djokovic.

Over the course of his career, Federer has raked in more than $130 million in prize money and hundreds of millions more from lucrative sponsorship deals including Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse, whose logos stand out in the competition. school on Friday.

Although his 20 Grand Slam tally is no longer a record, he has set new standards in men’s tennis by surpassing Pete Sampras’ old standards in 14 majors. While the long-retired American champion watched Federer break his record at Wimbledon in 2009, Nadal and Djokovic didn’t wait for Federer to pause to take the lead.

But some great Swiss records persist, including 237 straight weeks unbeaten as the men’s world number one. He is also the oldest man to top the chart. No man has won more Wimbledon titles than Federer, who has won there eight times. Federer, who turned pro in 1998, has never missed a match due to injury, fatigue or any other reason.

Regardless of what the record books say, Federer’s final match was a reminder that art cannot be fully documented by statistics.

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