Together until the end


Federer bids farewell to tennis at the Laver Cup in London, surrounded by Nadal, his friend and great rival, whom he first encountered in 2004

The first time Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal met on a tennis court was in 2004 in Miami. The first final between the two was also in Miami a year later. His first Grand Slam duel was at Roland Garros 2005, also the scene of his first major final a year later. His most uneven game was the final in Paris in 2008; the most epic, Wimbledon 2008; the most emotional, that of Australia 2017. The last, which they played this Friday at the O2 in London, in a Laver Cup ready to celebrate Federer’s farewell and in which Nadal acted as squire and friend of the Swiss.

It was the moment everyone had been waiting for since Federer announced his retirement a few days ago. However, the tournament and the players themselves kept it a secret until its announcement, just 24 hours before the doubles match of the Swiss who teamed up with the Balearic player in the match that concluded the first day of competition between the team from Europe and those of the rest. of the world.

The image of both on the track was preceded by compliments at the press conference. “It will be super special to be with Rafa,” said Federer. “He’s perfection personified,” Nadal replied. The hours leading up to the farewell to Swiss professional tennis were also reflected in the photos of both the presentations and the pre-tournament celebrations in London. A ‘selfie’ on the Thames, the two of us in suits at a gala… The Laver Cup, despite its exhibition and practically friendly nature, gives tennis players the unique feeling of living as a team in a fully competitive sport and in to which only the Davis Cup can be compared.

And Federer and Nadal took it to its peak, repeating the scene already witnessed in Prague in 2017 that paralyzed the sport. Never before have these two geniuses shared the same part of the track. Their rivalry, one of the biggest in history – only surpassed by Djokovic-Nadal and Djokovic-Federer – saw them face each other 40 times, with a huge advantage for the Spaniard, who won 26 times against just 14 defeats for the Spaniards.

Federer managed to make up for a deficit in his final years that stood at 23-10 in mid-2015, but in the books he will be behind Nadal in finals (14-10), semi-finals (7-4), quarter-finals (2 -0 ), in Grand Slam matches (10-4) and on clay (14-2). Federer dominates him only on grass (3-1) and on cement (11-9), the latter thanks to his brilliant 2017. The Swiss leaves feeling that he can never beat him at Roland Garros (6-0), while that Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon (2008). In the Australian Open, Nadal also dominated (3-1), while strangely enough they never faced each other at the US Open.

During the years of rivalry, they cultivated a friendly relationship, with their little friction in sporting affairs, but which was always marked by respect. This, along with the epic clash of styles, of the young man from the Balearic Islands who came to dethrone the Swiss maestro, contributed to the genesis of the legend and that the most special parting was with Nadal.

The man from Manacor, waiting for the birth of his first child, accepted the invitation, went to London and supported Federer at the conclusion of one of the most important races not only in the history of tennis, but also of sports. Federer is gone, he’s gone, but he leaves the mark of a legend that will remain on every tennis court. Their history parallels that of tennis and they will continue to live together no matter how many times the Swiss figure hangs up his racket.

Source: La Verdad


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