TENNIS fans have celebrated the remarkable friendship between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal following the Swiss legend’s incredibly emotional retirement.
Federer, 41, played the last game of his career on Friday night when he assisted Nadal in a double loss to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock at the Laver Cup in London.
It was an exciting evening as the 20-time Grand Slam champion bid farewell to the sport alongside his longtime rival.
Nadal, who has 22 Slam titles to his name, flew in especially to see Federer farewell and quickly returned home after Friday’s game to be with his pregnant wife.
And the Spaniard was seen in tears as Federer delivered his farewell speech to the ecstatic crowd.
Fans were blown away by the love Federer and Nadal clearly have for each other, with the couple holding hands as they tried to get through an incredibly difficult moment.
One social media user said: “I’ve never seen anything like it in tennis 👬 and never will again. The end of the golden era. Goodbye Roger and well played sir.”
While another added: “I think I used up my tear quota last night. It was a heartbreakingly beautiful farewell.
“But the moment Federer and Nadal both collapsed and cried inconsolably while holding hands was one of the most touching moments in the history of the sport. Unforgettable.”
And BBC presenter Dan Walker said: “This is officially too much. Sports are brilliant. Winning is great. Friendship is everything.”
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Federer gave a moving speech as he said goodbye to his tennis career.
He told the London crowd: “I don’t know how we got to this place all these years. We have been very connected, especially over the last 10 years.
“I’m very happy that today it’s like that, I can call Rafa and talk about anything.
“We enjoy each other’s company and have so much to look back on, but we also just enjoy spending time together.
“We have a million subjects to deal with. I always feel like we never have enough time every night we spend together.”
And Nadal later added: “When I started, Roger was always in front of me. For me he was always the guy to beat.
“At some point we were probably the biggest rivals – always in a very good way. We respect each other very much, families, teams. We never had big problems.
“Every year the personal relationship gets better every day.
“We have completely different styles on the pitch and that probably makes our matches and rivalry one of the biggest and most interesting.
“In family life, in personal life, we probably don’t approach life very differently. That’s why we can trust each other.
“There’s something very nice about having someone like Roger that I feel confident talking about personal things with.
“Especially after all the things we shared together and all the important things we fought for.
“I’m very proud to be part of his career in a way. But I’m even happier to end our careers like friends after everything we shared on the pitch like rivals.
“If Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life will also go.”
Federer and Nadal, who have won 42 Grand Slam singles titles together, delivered some of the greatest matches the sport has ever seen.
They faced each other nine times in the Slam final, with Federer winning three and Nadal winning six.
Her most famous matches included Wimbledon 2008 and the Australian Open 2017.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6294748/roger-federer-rafael-nadal-tears-retirement-laver-cup/ ‘Nice farewell’ – Fans all say the same thing as Rafael Nadal breaks down in tears and holds the hand of retired Roger Federer