LONDON – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal go head-to-head to play a double Friday in London at the Laver Cup, as a farewell to tennis from the Swiss maestro. .
On Wednesday, Federer, 41, made his first appearance since announcing his retirement last week in a lengthy social media post to the press for a press conference that was bound to have a special atmosphere.
A dark blue jumpsuit and a white open-collar shirt, the 20-times Grand Slam champion doesn’t want to give his answers too majestic.
“I didn’t really want it to be like a funeral…where people say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, are you okay?'” ” “, It is to explain.
“I am happy. I am happy to make this decision, because it is the right decision,” he insisted.
The Swiss spoke with legitimate pride and a touch of nostalgia, indeed, about his brilliant career and especially the last “really special moment” he hopes to have on Friday, as he walks away.
Apparently his stubborn body might upset his farewell a bit and he’s got permission from the European captain, Bjorn Borg, and the “Rest of the World” team, John McEnroe, as well as tournament management that Creation helped, to play doubles only.
“I wish I was competitive”
“It’s an event I didn’t want to disrupt, but at the same time, I know my limits,” he explained, while the six players on each team had to play one or two of the nine singles spread over three days.
Add to these nine singles double a day. “I think it should be Friday night,” Federer said.
“I’m obviously nervous because I haven’t played for a long time, and I hope to be competitive,” he slipped after a year and a half out of action trying to heal his right knee.
Casper Rudd, Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Andy Murray are potential partners, but everyone has only dreamed of being linked with Rafael Nadal, as the rivalry between the two men has permeated the ring for years.
“Obviously it could be a very unique situation if that happened,” Federer admitted.
“We fought for a long time, but there was always this respect between us, our families and our teams coachesWe get along really well.”
“Being able to maintain such a good relationship is also a great message for the sport and beyond and that’s why it would be great if that happened. It’s going to be a really special moment,” he said.
“I will not be a ghost”
An even more special moment because it will take place in London, the spectacle of some of his greatest feats with his eight victories and four finals at Wimbledon, but also two successes in the Masters Tournament at the O2 Arena which hosts the Laver Cup.
“I am happy to do it here, in London (…) this city was very special to me. Perhaps the most special thing of all (…) it fits perfectly,” he explained.
“Having Bjorn Borg on the bench with me for my last match resonated so strongly inside of me. Having all the men around me also means that I won’t be alone in my retirement.”
If he had already indicated that he would remain in the tennis world after retiring from the sport, he remained evasive about his duties.
“I just wanted the fans to know that I wasn’t going to be a ghost,” he explained.
Borg hasn’t been back to Wimbledon for 25 years, I think. And to some extent, it hurt tennis fans. She’s very respectful, his life, his reasons, you know. But I don’t think I’d be that kind of person,” he continued.
“Tennis has given me so much. I have been in this sport for a long time. I have fallen in love with so many things (…) I just want the fans to know that they will see me again.”
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