Roger Federer cries for his farewell to tennis

Roger Federer cries after playing his last match, a doubles with Rafael Nadal against American Jack Sock and American Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 Laver Cup at London's O2 Arena.
GLYN KIRK / AFP Roger Federer cries after playing his last match, a doubles with Rafael Nadal against American Jack Sock and American Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 Laver Cup at London’s O2 Arena.

GLYN KIRK / AFP

Roger Federer cries after playing his last match, a doubles with Rafael Nadal against American Jack Sock and American Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 Laver Cup at London’s O2 Arena.

TENNIS – A jubilee worthy of Swiss talent. A few minutes after the end of the match that ended his 25-year careerthis Saturday September 24 in London, Roger Federer assured that he was not ” not sad “ but ” glad “despite the emotion that overwhelmed him, especially when talking about his family and his wife Mirka.

“We’re going to get there one way or another, huh?” »he slipped, with a tight throat, to former player Jim Courrier, who questioned him on the court and in front of the public about his first sensations offormer professional tennis player. “It’s been a wonderful day, I told the guys, I’m happy, I’m not sad, it’s wonderful to be here.”he assured, even though his eyes were already shining, under the admiring gaze of many players and former tennis legends like Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

And it was between applause and tears, hers of course, but also those of her family, her friends, her admirers, and even Rafael Nadalespecially touched by that moment of emotion for his eternal best rival, that the Swiss said goodbye.

“I wasn’t that stressed”he assured, although, after a year and a half without playing and with a right knee that forced him to retire, at 41, he feared “a calf failure or a back lock during the game, so I’m very happy to have finished it”despite losing 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 9-11, in doubles with his friend Rafael Nadal, against the Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, for the Laver Cup, an annual match between Europe and the Rest du Monde, which he helped create.

Reflecting on his exceptional career, he assured that “I would repeat without changing anything”. “It should never have been like this, I loved playing tennis and going out with my friends. I never thought I would end up here, it has been a perfect course”, trusted after a quarter of a century at the top of tennis.

Mirka, the eternal support of the champion

The hardest thing for him was talking about his family present in the stands. “Do we really have to go through this? »he joked, before changing his mind. “No, it’s okay, I’m not doing too bad so far, I feel like, at least I can talk.” In my visions, I couldn’t even speak! » In particular, he paid tribute to his wife, Mirka, whom he met 22 years ago, who “so supportive” during his professional career.

“She could have stopped me a long, long time ago. But she didn’t, she let me go on and she let me go on, it was amazing, thank you”he managed to slide down before he was overcome by sobs and burst into tears in her arms.

Before his emotional farewell, the show was all the same on the London pitch: the Laver Cup formula, which allows the whole team to approach the players at the change of sides to lavish advice or encouragement, gave a very friendly atmosphere to the front. of the 17,000 spectators at the O2 Arena. And if the game itself sometimes seemed like an exhibition, not playing it thoroughly would have been a crime of lese majesty. “We will seize the moment but we will not stop, sorry Roger”Sock warned before the game.

Despite some limitationsFederer responded. It was on a forehand volley winner that he offered his team the first set ball, won on one of his passes that Sock failed to return (6-4), much to the delight of the crowd. The second set, lost in the tie-break (7-2), offered a dramatic epilogue with an intense crossover during the super finale of the tie-break. Federer even served for the match at 9-8, but in the end it was the Americans who spoiled the party a bit by ultimately winning 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 11-9.

With 103 ATP Tour titles, including 20 Grand Slams, 310 weeks at the top of the rankings, including 237 in a row during his longest reign, the imprint of ” King ” Federer in tennis it’s not about to fade.

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