London: Tennis great Roger Federer bid adieu to his career and fans in an emotional speech here after defeat in a doubles match alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal.
The 41-year-old Swiss legend teamed up with another great of all time Nadal in his one last contest on Friday, losing a doubles match to Jack Sock/Frances Tiafoe of the US 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9 in the Laver Cup.
“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”
Federer, who has not played since the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals, announced last Thursday that he would retire from Grand Slams and the ATP Tour after the Laver Cup held from September 23 to 25 in London.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner had decided earlier that he would only play one doubles match at the Laver Cup held in London’s O2 Arena.
The defeat meant Team Europe were locked at 2-2 with Team World at the end of the opening day of the Ryder Cup-style event.
Team Europe has earlier won two singles match while Team World claimed one singles victory.
“We’ll get through this somehow,” said a tearful Federer. “It’s been a wonderful day. I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.”
Federer is leaving the sport 19 years after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003.
Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) have both surpassed Federer’s tally of Grand Slam titles.