'Tennis is always bigger than any of us', says Roger Federer ahead of his last dance
Roger Federer will bid farewell to his competitive tennis career on Friday night (September 23) with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after an illustrious career that included 20 Grand Slam titles and a role as a statesman for tennis. He will play a doubles match alongside his rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.
When the players from both squads were introduced before the initial singles matchup of the three-day team event at the O2 Arena, Federer was the last to emerge from a tunnel leading out to the black court. Fans who were loud enough for Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and others really let Federer hear their support and gratitude, rising for a lengthy standing ovation while lifting their phone cameras to capture the moment.
Ahead of his last match, Federer affirmed that it is the right time to walk away from competitive tennis.
"I am happy they are going to have more battles and I am going to watch it from a couch or from the bed. Look, I am happy to go first because I am the oldest of the bunch and I tried long and hard to come back for the last few years and I think this is the right moment to go out," the 20-time Grand Slam champions said.
"Like everyone said, the last few days have been special. Tennis has and will continue to mean the world to me. The boys are still here and a lot of new faces are coming up. Tennis is always bigger than any of us and it has great sharing the court that many times and having some cool battles. Some of the matches we have forgotten or we ignore them but they have connected us forever and it is special for us," he added.