The Big Four – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray played their first and last game together last week. They only played four games and Federer and Nadal won 3-1, yet Djokovic described the game as “the most incredible practise session I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The game or a Federer practise session felt like a tour reunion, with the four rockstars proving that they could still retain their talents. But these four had never played together like this, and two of them, are still fit enough to go on to continue winning grand slams. But this event was flooded with emotion as the leader of the band announced that he couldn’t go on to win with them anymore.
Federer, who has not played a competitive set of tennis since Wimbledon last year, kept saying that he was nervous about his final match on Friday night, doubles match with Nadal by his side.
Over the years there was much discussion of the history of Federer and Nadal, their rivalry, their friendship and their respect. The two met 40 times on the court. Nadal won the all-time series, 24–16, but Federer won six of the final seven meetings between the two, including the 2019 Wimbledon semifinal. But as the moment dawned for emotional Federer that his career was ending, Nadal was also lost in emotion.
“With Roger leaving the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments that he has been next or in front of me,” Nadal said following the match. “So [it’s] been emotional to see the family, to see all the people.”
Federer ends his career with the third-most Grand Slam titles for male players, a record number of Wimbledon titles and previously held the world No. 1 ranking for a historic 237 weeks. Federer’s ability to remain calm and collected particularly in high-pressure situations and his great sportsmanship proves that he is a role model for future generations.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung