Roger Federer loses final match paired up with Rafael Nadal

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This is the end of the tennis era.

Roger Federer played his final match at the Laver Cup in London on Friday night, losing a doubles match against Rafael Nadal as part of the European team.

The two legends teamed up against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, who beat them 4-7, 7-6, 11-9.

Both Federer and Nadal were in tears as the audience gave the former a big round of applause, saying “thank you” with his mouth.

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Roger Federer of Team Europe joins Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup doubles match against Team World's Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe at O2 Athletics in London on Friday, September 23, 2022 On the field, he greeted the audience emotionally.

Roger Federer of Team Europe joins Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup doubles match against Team World’s Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe at O2 Athletics in London on Friday, September 23, 2022 On the field, he greeted the audience emotionally.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

“It was a perfect journey,” Federer said after the game. “I’ll do it again.”

The 41-year-old announced his retirement last week, citing injuries that have slowed him down over the past few years.

Roger Federer waves to the crowd after playing with Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup doubles match at London's O2 Arena, Friday, September 23, 2022. Federer's doubles defeat with Nadal marked the end of his illustrious career.

Roger Federer waves to the crowd after playing with Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup doubles match at London’s O2 Arena, Friday, September 23, 2022. Federer’s doubles defeat with Nadal marked the end of his illustrious career.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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“As many of you know, the last three years have presented me with injuries and surgical challenges,” Federer said. “I’m trying to get back to full competitive form. But I also know the capabilities and limits of my body, and it’s been giving me a clear message lately. I’m 41. I’ve played over 1,500 matches in 24 years. Tennis is better than me Imagine being more generous with me, and now I have to realize when it’s time to end my competitive career.”

Federer, speaking to the crowd after the game, took it all for one last time.

“It’s a good day. I tell them I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here. I love tying my shoes again. It’s all for the last time,” he said.

The European team is fortunate to have the top three Grand Slam winners: Federer, Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21).

“It’s been fantastic. Of course, playing on the same team as Rafa, and these guys, everybody here, all the legends… It’s fantastic. It really is,” Federer said.

Team Europe's Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet with World's Jack Sock and Francesca at the O2 Arena in London on Friday 23 September 2022 Frances Tiafoe sits next to Rafael Nadal after a doubles match.

Team Europe’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet with World’s Jack Sock and Francesca at the O2 Arena in London on Friday 23 September 2022 Frances Tiafoe sits next to Rafael Nadal after a doubles match.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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“For me, it really felt like a celebration,” he added. “I hope it ends up feeling that way, which is exactly what I want.”

Federer spent 310 weeks as the world’s No. 1 tennis player and retired with 20 Grand Slam titles, the third-most in history. His titles: 8 Wimbledon, 6 Australian Open, 5 US Open and 1 French Open.

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