Roger Federer retirement ‘difficult to handle’ says Rafael Nadal as he vows to deliver ‘special’ send-off

·2-min read
Roger Federer retirement ‘difficult to handle’ says Rafael Nadal as he vows to deliver ‘special’ send-off

Rafael Nadal has vowed to give Roger Federer a special send-off tonight at the O2 Arena.

Federer will bow out from professional tennis after his participation in the Laver Cup doubles alongside the Spaniard. The pair face Team World duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

Ahead of the match, Nadal said: “I think it’s a very difficult one. It’s going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. For me, too.

“At the end of the day, one of the most important players, if not the most important player in my tennis career, is leaving.

“I am super excited and grateful to play with him. I’m going to try to do my best in every single way to help him have this moment even more special.”

The Laver Cup 2022: Roger Federer’s Farewell

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Federer bows out on the all-time list of Grand Slam wins in third, on 20, behind Nadal, on 22, and another European team-mate in Novak Djokovic, on 21. The Swiss, whose knee issue has curtailed his hopes of player in the singles at the Laver Cup, retires with 103 ATP Tour titles to his name.

When the announcement of his retirement came last week, Nadal said it felt akin to “missing something”. He said: “It has been very, very, very sad news and a tough day. Probably one of the most if not the most important player in the history of this sport is leaving after a super great and super long career.”

Andy Murray will be the warm-up act for Federer and Nadal in the preceding singles rubber against Alex de Minaur. And the former British No 1 said it seemed the perfect way for Federer to bow out.

“It feels right seeing him and Rafa on the same side of the net together and finishing their careers as a team in this event,” he said.