Rafael Nadal wept for his great rival Roger Federer as the 20-time Grand Slam champion bid farewell to tennis.
On Friday night, the pair took on Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the Laver Cup, and the four players produced a match for the ages at London’s O2 Arena.
Team World’s Sock and Tiafoe defeated the pantomime villains 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 at the O2, but it was still cause for celebration for the 41-year-old.
The pair were photographed crying next to one another after his final match in London. Federer was moved to tears at the end of the match, which marked the end of his illustrious career.
Not only was the Swiss maestro in tears, but so was his long-time rival Nadal, as they shared a long hug at the end of the match before he was given one final standing ovation by a sold-out crowd despite the clock being well past midnight.
Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Jim Courier summoned the former world No. 1 for an on-court interview following the match.
‘We’ll get through this,’ Federer said on the court.
‘Look, it’s been a fantastic day. I told the guys that I’m not sad, but rather happy. It’s great to be here, and I had a good time tying my shoes one more time.
‘Everything was the previous time.’ Interestingly, with all of the matches, being with the guys, and having family and friends, I didn’t feel as much stress, even if I suspected something would go wrong during the match. I’m glad I made it through, and the match was fantastic. I couldn’t be more pleased.
‘Thank you all,’ he added. I’ve had so many people cheer me on, and having you here tonight means so much to me.
‘My wife has been so encouraging… She could have stopped me a long time ago, but she chose not to. Thank you for keeping me going and allowing me to play. She is incredible.’