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Fedal reunion confirmed! Roger Federer to get "special moment" in final match of career at Laver Cup
Rafael Nadal will partner the 41-year-old Friday night at The O2 Arena in London.
Published Sep 22, 2022
LONDON—Roger Federer had his heart set on playing one final doubles match at the Laver Cup before calling it a career.
The 20-time major champion ruled out making a singles appearance as a result of the right knee injury that has plagued him since 2020. As one might expect, he hoped to share the court with one particular peer in mind at The O2 Arena: Rafael Nadal.
“I don't know if it's gonna happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment,” Federer told a packed press room on Wednesday. “For us to go through a career that we both have had and to come out on the other side and being able to have a nice relationship, I think is maybe a great message as well to not just tennis but sports and maybe even beyond. For that reason I think it would be great.”
On Thursday, Federer’s dream farewell scenario was confirmed. Fedal will headline Friday evening’s doubles match against Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
“After all the amazing things that we shared together on and off court, be part of this historic moment gonna be something amazing [and] unforgettable for me,” Nadal said during Team Europe's group press conference.
“Gonna be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. For me too. You know, at the end, you know, one of the most important players, if not most important player in my tennis career, is leaving, no? At the end, live this moment will be difficult. Of course I am super excited and grateful to play with him.”
Added Federer, I have had some tougher moments as well in the past, being horribly nervous all these years sometimes before matches. This one definitely feels a whole lot different.”
Following press commitments Thursday, Federer and Nadal hit against teammates Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to the delight of a packed crowd welcomed to view an open practice.
As for event logistics, Federer Wednesday revealed the plan for the remainder of the event due to his limitations. Both Team Europe and Team World carry an on-site alternate, so it’s expected that Matteo Berrettini will step in over the weekend in place of the Swiss.
“Of course this is an event, an ATP event that I don't want to mess with,” he said. “I asked Bjorn (Borg) if it was okay if I play maybe just one doubles… Then I guess Matteo would come in for me and have to play on Saturday for me.
“Bjorn said obviously, of course, that's totally fine. Bjorn spoke to John (McEnroe), as well. They spoke to the tournament and the ATP if that was okay and everybody said that was fine.”
Regarding his future in the sport, Federer reiterated his desire to stay involved, declaring, “I just wanted to let the fans know I won't be a ghost.”
The 41-year-old holds a career record in singles of 1251-275.