Rafael Nadal said he was looking forward to an “unforgettable” doubles pairing with Roger Federer at the Laver Cup, which will be final match of the Swiss great’s career. “One of the most important, if not the most important players in my tennis career is leaving,” the Spaniard said at a pre-event press conference on Thursday.
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‘Grateful to play with him’
“At the end, this moment will be difficult. I’m super excited and grateful to play with him.” Federer will team up with long-time rival Nadal for the final match, Laver Cup organisers announced on Thursday.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will play doubles with the Spaniard, who has won 22 majors, at the O2 arena in London on Friday. Federer, whose most recent competitive match was a loss to Hubert Hurkacz in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals, has been struggling with a knee problem and will not play singles in London. The Laver Cup is a team competition that pits Team Europe against Team World.
The six-strong European team, captained by Bjorn Borg, also includes 21-time major winner Novak Djokovic and three-time major winner Andy Murray. Their opponents, Team World, skippered by John McEnroe, include Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman. Federer, 41, announced last week he intended to retire after the three-day Laver Cup.
He said on Wednesday that finishing his career by teaming up with Nadal would be his dream scenario. Federer said he and Nadal, 36, had always maintained respect for each other even as they vied for the biggest trophies in the sport.
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“For us as well 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,” Federer said. Italian Matteo Berrettini, the first alternate for Europe, will take Federer’s place over the weekend.
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