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Roger Federer's last game, at Laver Cup, is with Rafael Nadal by his side

Vivek MishraSeptember 23, 2022 | 13:11 IST

Eight days after announcing his retirement, Swiss tennis great Roger Federer on Friday (September 23) will team up with long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal for the final match of his career at Laver Cup.

The Federer-Nadal pair, popularly known as Fedal, will represent Team Europe against Team World's Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at London's O2 Arena.

Struggling with a series of knee injuries in recent times, Federer, on September 15 had announced that he will be retiring from professional tennis. Federer, 41, has won 20 Grand Slam titles, finished five seasons ranked number 1 and holds a record number of ATP titles.

Federer, Nadal emotional: "I'm not sure if I can handle it all. But I'll try," Federer said about his farewell game. "I've had some tough moments in the past, being horribly nervous. All these years. This match feels a whole lot different. Playing with Rafa feels really different," he said.

 

"It 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," Nadal said.

Laver Cup: The three-day men's team event will see Team Europe take on Team World in a series of singles and doubles matches. The competition was founded by Federer's management company, Team8.

The European team, captained by Bjorn Borg, also includes Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray along with than Federer and Nadal. Team World is skippered by John McEnroe, including Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

When and where to watch: Laver Cup will have a live broadcast on Sony Sports Network in India. It will be live streamed on the SonyLiv app. The first round match will begin at 5pm on Friday (September 23) and the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock/Frances Tiafoe match will start after the third singles match at 11 pm IST. So, Federer's last match will be telecast somewhere between 12am and 2am on September 24, depending upon how long the singles match goes for.

Federer's unbelievable numbers: Federer has won a whopping 1,251 singles matches and has clinched a record 103 tour-level titles in his career. When he returned to the top spot at the age of 36, he became the oldest number 1 in ATP rankings history.

  • Federer reached 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals from 2005 to 2007 and won 8 of these majors. From 2004 to 2013, the time when the Swiss was at his prime, he reached 36 quarterfinals and 23 semifinals in a row.
  • He made 65 consecutive Grand Slam appearances from the Australian Open in 2000 to the French Open in 2016. Federer went on to win 8 Wimbledon titles, the most by any man, and made 22 consecutive appearances at the tournament.
  • Federer spent 310 weeks as world number one, 237 of them consecutively. He has won 369 matches in Grand Slams and has reached the final at every Grand Slam at least five times.

More than the numbers: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 63 of the last 75 Grand Slams. There has always been a debate as to who is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) among these three. Calling any one of them the GOAT would be unfair. It was, in a way, the GOAT era of men's tennis.

Federer, with his sheer class, unmatchable elegance and superhuman tennis skills has proven that he was more than the GOAT. With his 24-year-long career finally coming to an end, we can't define him by just numbers.

Federer was a Black Swan - a rare occurrence - in the golden era of men's tennis.

Last updated: September 23, 2022 | 13:45
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