Roger Federer retirement – Nadal: “I wish this day would never happen”

Roger Federer retirement – Nadal: “I wish this day would never happen”

Roger Federer retirement – Nadal: “I wish this day would never happen”

It only took a few minutes for reactions to start pouring in after Roger Federer’s announcement. But none was probably more expected than Rafael Nadal’s. The rivalry between the two champions marked the beginning of the 21st century and will remain one of the most significant in the history of tennis, if only for the combination of their styles and personalities. Tactically more winning combination for the Spaniard than for the Swiss. But the real winner was tennis. Only the combination of Björn Borg and John McEnroe can compete in this field over time.

I wish that day would never happen, it is a sad day for me and for sports all over the world“, said Nadal in a message posted on Twitter. As proof that the numbers do not say everything, the Swiss will have faced Novak Djokovic 50 times in his career, ten more than Rafael Nadal, whom he has not met.” only “40 times. , but his sporting relationship with the Majorcan will retain something incomparable.

Recall that, when he returned to Roland-Garros in 2019 after four years of absence, Federer took a break before meeting his rival in the semifinals: “That’s why I’m back. To play Rafa “. He could have said “I returned to try to win back Roland-Garros ten years later.“But no. He was telling because he’s not taking too many risks to think he wouldn’t say that about anyone else, anywhere.

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The Melbourne Exorcism

When Nadal, still a teenager, began to establish himself, Roger Federer had just established himself as the undisputed boss of world tennis. The arrival of “Rafa” was both “Rodger’s” worst nightmare and greatest opportunity. They both grew up on each other. Very quickly, Nadal’s threat became clearer, until this monument to the match, completed at sunset one evening in July 2008 in Wimbledon, in the form of a transfer of power.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the fabulous Wimbledon final in 2008.

Credit: Eurosport

Nadal made Federer cry most of the time, not least because most of their confrontations took place on clay (14-2 in favor of the Spaniard on ocher, 14-10 Federer elsewhere), but the Bâlois would have probably exorcised good part of his demons by winning another jewel in their common crown, the 2017 Australian Open final.

We won’t list all of their duels here, a good number of which are rooted in tennis legend. Come on, two or three at random, in addition to those mentioned above: the final in Miami in 2005, that of Rome in 2006, of Wimbledon in 2007, of Melbourne in 2009, and so on. Victory, defeat … Now that Federer is gone, we almost want to say that all this doesn’t matter much anymore. There is or will soon be a prescription. To retain such a victory or defeat rather than the work they have built together would be a mistake.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Credit: Eurosport

The unforgettable giggle

So we can take Nadal at his word when he said this Thursday: “It has been a pleasure but also an honor and a privilege to share all these years with you, to experience so many fantastic moments on and off the pitch.“It was also our pleasure and our privilege. When it comes to moments off the pitch, two spontaneously come to mind.

The first dates back to 2010. On the occasion of a promotional spot for charity matches, the filming, which should have lasted a few minutes, drags on. The two champions have only a few words to say, but, sitting side by side, they can’t. The laughter that takes them and then holds them has become a cult. The second, closer, dates back to the first edition of the Laver Cup, in 2017, with their (victorious) partnership in the doubles. A kind of tennis fantasy.

Perhaps it was at least in part in those moments when, accomplices and on the fringes of their rivalry, they discovered each other in a different way, that Rafael Nadal thought when writing this. It is also in this same Laver Cup that they will meet one last time, next week, since Roger Federer decided to retire on this occasion. Seeing the Swiss champion on the pitch will be tasty, but the presence of all the others will be no less tasty. And in these “others” there will also be, above all, “Rafa”. “See you in London“Concluded Nadal.

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