Roger Federer bids farewell to the last match before retiring

London (AFP) – This match had to come, of course, for Roger Federer, and for tennis, just as it must for every athlete in every sport.

Federer was bidding farewell Friday night with one last competition before retiring at the age of 41 after an impressive career that included 20 Grand Slam titles and a role as a tennis statesman. He was scheduled to play the doubles match alongside his rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.

Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press this week about his feelings when he realized it was time to go. “I kind of held it at first, then fought it off. But I can feel the pain.”

When players from both teams were presented before the initial singles game of the three-day team event at the O2 Arena, Federer was the last to emerge from a tunnel leading into the pitch black. Fans who were loud enough for Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and others allowed Federer to hear their support and gratitude, rose to a standing ovation as they held up their phone cameras to capture the moment.

Spectators came from all over, no distance too far to go, no expense too big.

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