Federer’s final match comes in doubles alongside rival Nadal

LONDON (AP) — It was once relatively a choice of tennis luminaries sharing the black indoor laborious courtroom for a Laver Cup doubles apply consultation Thursday, 66 Grand Slam titles amongst them, a gaggle jointly nicknamed the Big Four: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on one facet of the online; Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the different.

This workforce tournament based by way of his control corporate marks the top of Federer’s profession, and his remaining match will come Friday evening alongside longtime rival Nadal for Team Europe in opposition to the Team World doubles pairing of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.

“I’m not sure if I can handle it all. But I’ll try,” the 41-year-old Federer mentioned about his sure-to-be-emotional on-court farewell after 20 primary championships, a complete of 103 match titles and loads of weeks at No. 1 throughout just about 1 / 4 of a century as a qualified tennis participant.

“Sitting here,” Federer mentioned Thursday at a workforce information convention, with Nadal, who’s 36, to his left, and Djokovic and Murray, each 35, a few seats right down to his proper, “it feels good that I go first from the guys. It feels right.”

Federer is finishing his enjoying days following a sequence of operations on his proper knee. He hasn’t competed since a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon to Hubert Hurkacz in July 2021.

In February of this 12 months, when phrase emerged that Federer can be in London this week, he mentioned Nadal messaged him suggesting they play doubles in combination once more. They teamed as much as win a doubles match throughout the primary Laver Cup in 2017.

“I saw him playing on TV before I arrived on tour. I saw him having success on TV, and then (we were) able to create an amazing rivalry together. And on the other hand, something that probably we are very proud of is having a friendly rivalry,” Nadal mentioned Thursday. “Tomorrow is going to be a special thing. Difficult. Going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. But for me, too. At the end, one of the most important players — if not the most important player — in my tennis career is leaving.”

They performed every different in singles 40 instances (Nadal gained 26), together with 14 Grand Slam matchups (Nadal gained 10). Nadal got here out on best in their vintage 2008 Wimbledon final, thought to be by way of some the best match in historical past; Federer gained their remaining showdown, in the 2019 semifinals on the All England Club.

“To be part of this historic moment,” Nadal mentioned about Friday, “is going to be something amazing, unforgettable.”

Tiafoe, a 24-year-old American who beat Nadal en path to his first Grand Slam semifinal on the U.S. Open this month, deadpanned: “Yeah, I’m just excited to play two up-and-comers tomorrow.”

Added Tiafoe: “It’s going to be iconic to be a part of that. Both guys are absolute legends. And obviously, (it’s) Roger’s last dance.”

The complete lineup for Day 1 of the three-day Laver Cup was once introduced Thursday.

The singles suits shall be Sock in opposition to two-time 2022 Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud of Team Europe, Diego Schwartzman of Team World in opposition to 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas of Team Europe, and Alex de Minaur of Team World in opposition to three-time primary champion Murray, earlier than the Federer-Nadal doubles match closes the time table.

Everyone is aware of what the principle tournament shall be: Federer’s good-bye.

“For me,” Murray mentioned, “it feels right seeing him and Rafa on the same side of the net together.”


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