Opposed for years in the race for titles and in place of world No.1, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet side by side to compete in a double Friday in London.
On Wednesday, Federer, 41, appeared before the press for a specially atmospheric press conference after his retirement was announced last week in a lengthy social media post.
Dark blue suit and white shirt with an open collar, the player with 20 Grand Slam titles did not want to give his answers too solemn a tone.
“I really didn’t want it to be like a funeral (…) with people saying to me ”Oh, I’m so sorry, are you going to be okay?”“, he explained.
“I am happy. I’m glad I made this decision, because it’s the right one.“, he insisted.
The Swiss spoke with legitimate pride and a touch of nostalgia, already, his fantastic career and especially the last “really special time“He hopes to live Friday, bowing out.
Obviously, his recalcitrant body will upset his farewell a bit and he has obtained permission from the captains of the European team, Björn Borg, and the team of the “Rest of the world“, John McEnroe, as well as the direction of the tournament that he won to create, to play only a doubles.
“I hope to be competitive”
“It’s an event I didn’t want to disrupt but, at the same time, I know my limits“, he explained, while the six players of each team must normally play one or two of the nine singles spread over three days.
To these nine singles are added a double per day. “I think it should be Friday nightFederer said.
“I’m obviously nervous that I haven’t played in so long, I hope to be competitive“, he slipped after a year and a half away from the courts trying to heal his right knee.
Casper Ruud, Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Andy Murray are possible partners, but everyone only dreams of an association with Rafael Nadal, as the rivalry between the two men has punctuated the circuit for years.
“Obviously, it could be a pretty unique situation if that happens.Federer admitted.
“We fought for so long, but there’s always been this respect between us, our families, our coaching teams, we get along really well.“, he underlined.
“To have been able to maintain this good relationship is also a great message for the sport and beyond and for that reason it would be great if that happened. It would be a really special time“, he recognized.
“I will not be a ghost”
A moment all the more special as it will take place in London, the scene of some of his greatest exploits with his eight victories and four finals at Wimbledon, but also two successes at the Masters at the O2 Arena which hosts the Laver Cup.
“I am happy to do that here, in London (…) This city has been very special for me. Perhaps the most special of all (…) It’s quite appropriate“, he explained.
“Having Björn Borg on the bench with me for my last match also resonated something very strong in me. Having all the guys around me also means that I won’t be alone for my retirementhe continued.
If he has already indicated that he will remain in the tennis world after his retirement from sport, he has remained evasive about his duties.
“I just wanted the fans to know that I wouldn’t be a ghost“, he specified.
Borg”didn’t return to Wimbledon for 25 years, I believe. And, to some extent, that pains tennis fans. It’s quite respectable, his life, his reasons, you know. But I don’t think I’ll be that type of personhe continued.
“Tennis gave me too much. I’ve been in this sport too long. I fell in love with way too many things (…) I just want the fans to know that they will see me again“.
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