at the Laver cup, Roger Federer’s last dance and the swan song of the Big 4

He will walk the grounds for the last time. A week after the announcement of his retirement from sport, the Swiss Roger Federer will be aligned with a final competition, the Laver cup (from September 23 to 25), before turning to a new chapter in his life. The man with twenty Grand Slam titles will only play doubles on Friday, September 23, in the evening, alongside his eternal rival, Rafael Nadal. A last moment of sharing between the two men, this time on the same side of the field.“An absolute dream”admitted the 41-year-old player in the Swiss press on September 20.

This last dance is also strong in symbol by the place of this competition, London, which is an emblematic city for Switzerland. In 2003, it was at Wimbledon that he won his first Grand Slam title. The first of a long series, since he will win seven more then, including the last of his career in 2017, fourteen years later. This final match will be a way for Federer to greet his public, who have not seen him play for over a year, before putting away his racket for good.

If Roger Federer’s announcement moved the entire sports world, it was nonetheless expected. The Swiss had not participated in any tournament since his elimination in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2021 (beaten by the Pole Hubert Hurkacz). However, the announcement, then this last competition, set in stone the end of an era in the middle of the little yellow ball.

Swiss Roger Federer during the first round of Wimbledon, June 29, 2021. (SHUHEI YOKOYAMA / SIPA)

More than the end of Roger Federer’s career, it is also the end of the legendary Big 4, made up of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and therefore Roger Federer. Between them, they devoured everything on the circuit like never before. 2006, out of 64 tournaments Since the Grand Slam, only eight have slipped through the cracks. Suffice to say that they did not leave crumbs to their opponents, unable to find a place among them.

Above all, Federer’s retirement has come to an end to an incredible series of confrontations with his eternal rivals. With Nadal, they clashed forty times, while with the Serbian Novak Djokovic, the Swiss fought fifty times. Andy Murray has faced Federer 25 times, Nadal 24 and Djokovic 36. The record is held by the Djokovic – Nadal duel, meeting face to face on the court 59 times.

If these series between them three could still grow a few face-to-face, Federer’s goodbye marks the beginning of a different era, without one of the four monsters of tennis. And who even traces the path of a landscape without this trio, who have all passed their 35th birthday, Nadal having even celebrated his 36th birthday this year. One of the most fascinating chapters in tennis history is slowly coming to an end.

This Laver Cup weekend also goes down in history as the last tournament with the full members of the Big 4. We had not seen all four of them, in the same competition, since the Australian Open in 2019. Already an eternity, which has never been as real as today.

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