Rafael Nadal shared a career with Roger Federer, as his original kryptonite, longtime rival and longtime friend. On Friday night in London, the Spaniard shared deep, heartfelt tears and emotions with his Swiss friend, and the tennis world collectively followed suit as the world celebrated Federer’s career and bemoaned the fact that he had officially hit his mark. last angry ball.
Nadal summed it up best on the podium, as the pair were questioned by reporters long after midnight in London.
Nadal – A part of my life will too
The watery-eyed Spaniard said what we all felt as we said goodbye to 20-time champion Federer, the Big 3’s OG. As much as we don’t like to admit it, the beginning of the end of an era has officially begun and there’s no escaping it any longer.
With him goes a piece of our collective tennis experience, relegated to the past.
“For me it was a great honor to be a part of this incredible moment in the history of our sport and at the same time many years of sharing many things together,” said Nadal. “When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is also leaving because of all the moments that he was by my side or in front of me in important moments of my life.
“So emotional to see the family, to see all the people.
“Yes, hard to describe. But yeah, amazing moment.”
Tsitsipas – not possible without Federer
More than anything, it was a joyous celebration, contextualized by the respect for Federer that spanned generations. Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas reminded us of the importance of the Swiss to tennis and how his influence will remain in the future.
“This moment would not have been possible if Roger had not given me the opportunity to dream. I owe him this moment! I love you with all my heart,” he wrote on Twitter.
Celebrate and marvel at your career – Djokovic
Novak Djokovic shared many tender moments with Federer on Friday, showing his respect for a rival and his appreciation for our sport’s past and present.
He also believes this weekend is all about taking inspiration from Federer’s achievements and the player and person he was.
“There are different generations now present on our team,” he said. “You know, most of us watched and admired Roger’s success and achievements, you know, before he went on tour. Some later, some earlier. But, you know, we will do our best to contribute to the team and perform well, but at the same time marvel and celebrate your career.”
Sock – Happy to be part of the GOAT final match
Jack Sock, who teamed up with Frances Tiafoe to save a match point and eventually hand Federer and Nadal the defeat that ended the Laver Cup action on Friday, said the experience left him feeling drained by the end.
“It was super fun to be a part of that match,” he said. “I think we will be forever grateful to be a part of the GOAT final match. But I don’t think it settled until later. When I took that last shot, and I realized it was over, I was kind of numb.”
His partner Tiafoe then joined the conversation:
“Emptiness feeling,” he said.
Federer – this night was all happiness
But Federer didn’t see it that way. Although he would love to play if only his body would allow it, the 41-year-old is clearly at peace with his decision to retire.
He said he’s been through the emotional meltdown in the last month, and it made this weekend a little easier for him.
“For me, I didn’t have fireworks in my head, where I see my career going by, all the things I’m going to miss,” he said. “That was weeks ago. So it was hard for me to make phone calls, to let people know that this decision is happening.
“There I felt pain, but now, tonight was all happiness.”