Roger Federer holds back tears as he bids farewell to professional tennis

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

A tearful Roger Federer paid tribute to his wife Mirka and declared himself “happy and not sad” despite ending his professional career with a Laver Cup doubles defeat alongside Rafael Nadal.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion announced last week that he would retire from competitive tennis with a final match in Ryder Cup-style competition, which was his idea.

London was the destination of the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, the city of some of Federer’s greatest triumphs, but the Swiss superstar was unable to add another victory to his illustrious resume.

Team World duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe proved to be the villains of pantomime with a 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 victory in the 02, but it was still a feast for the 41-year-old.

It was a perfect journey and I would do it all over again…

Roger Federer

Federer enjoyed a long hug with former sparring partner Nadal, who also cried later at the conclusion of the match, before being given a standing ovation by a packed crowd despite the clock being well after midnight.

“We’re going to get through this somehow,” Federer said on court.

“Look, it was a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy, not sad. It’s great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes once again.

“Everything was the last time. Funny enough with every match, being with the guys and having family and friends, I didn’t feel as much stress even though I felt like something was going to happen during the match. I am very happy that I managed to pass and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier.

“Of course playing with Rafa on the same team, having all the guys here, the legends, Rocket (Rod Laver), Stefan Edberg, thank you.

“It feels like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this in the end and it’s exactly what I expected so thank you.

“It was a perfect journey and I would do it all over again…”

Federer had to fight back tears before thanking wife Mirka, who saw him struggle through a succession of knee surgeries before finally admitting defeat in his quest to come back last week.

He added: “Thank you everyone. I had so many people cheering me on and you here tonight mean the world.

“My wife has been so supportive…she could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play, so thanks. She’s wonderful.”

Federer had already received a standing ovation at the O2 this week, first by reporters at the end of his press conference on Wednesday and again during a practice session alongside the “big four” a day later.

Another round of applause greeted his entry onto the court for this ‘last dance’. It seemed fitting for the Swiss ace – wearing his white belt – to sign in London, the home of many of his most famous victories, including a memorable first major at Wimbledon in 2003 and then a record 15 Grand Slams six years later. that thrilled him ahead of old rival Pete Sampras.

When the first ball was angrily hit after the 22:11 start, it took Federer a few seconds for a quick volley into the net to cause a thunderous noise inside the arena.

Alongside his longtime sparring partner Nadal, competitive juices were flowing as Federer produced an excellent serve and volley in game seven.

The former world number one was in the mood now and produced the clutch shoe at a critical juncture to open the scoring in 42 minutes after a superb play by the 41-year-old.

In tune with this unique situation, Novak Djokovic, a holder of 21 majors, was on hand to offer words of wisdom when needed and also one of the most enthusiastic ones celebrating any points achieved by the partnership dubbed the Fedal.

Things turned around in the second set and despite Federer’s right knee seemingly holding up – it was a succession of operations on that part of his body that made him finally admit defeat in his attempt to keep playing – fatigue began to set in for both of them. the hall of fame.

Sock and Tiafoe had warned that they weren’t there to make up for the numbers and closed out the second set to force a decisive tie-break.

While the Americans would eventually claim victory after two hours and 14 minutes, they did so only after a handful of submissions for Federer, who dropped an ace at 116 mph and a delicious drop shot that proved to be the ultimate winner of a career. simply extraordinary.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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