Laver Cup: Doubles match with Rafael Nadal to be my last, confirms Roger Federer
- Roger Federer announced his retirement earlier this month
- His decorated career lasted for over two decades
- Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles
The game is expected to take place on the opening night of the Laver Cup on Friday (Sept. 23).
Earlier this month, Federer announced his retirement and said that the Laver Cup, which is an ATP hard-court event, would be his last. The former World No. 1 player has not played a professional game since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in 2021. Following that, he had a surgery on his right knee, which was his third surgery in a span of just one and a half years.
Ahead of the Laver Cup, Federer has confirmed that he will not be playing a singles match and has convinced his Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg that he will be playing just one doubles game.
In a press conference on Wednesday at London's O2 Arena, his final one as an active player, Federer told reporters that he is hoping to be fit enough to play that one final game before bowing out of the sport he has been associated with for over two decades.
"I know my limitations, and this is why I asked Bjorn [Borg, the Europe captain] if it's OK that I play just one doubles. I guess that one would have to be Friday night. So here I am, trying to prepare for one last doubles. We'll see how it is. I am nervous because I haven't played for so long. I hope it goes well," said Federer.
To fit in Federer's request of just one doubles game, Laver Cup will have to tweak the rules. The competition, which is between Europe and the rest of the world, requires players usually to play at least one singles and one doubles fixture. Therefore, Italy's Matteo Berrettini will replace Federer on Saturday and Sunday.
Federer went on to say that if he does play the final game of his career alongside Nadal, his longtime rival and friend, it would be a "unique situation."
"Of course, no doubt. I think it could be quite a unique situation if it were to happen. For as long as we battled together, having had always this respect for one another, our families, coaching teams, for us as well to go through a career we both have had, come out the other side and have a nice relationship, is maybe a great message to tennis and beyond.
"For that reason, it would be great, I don't know if it will happen, but it would be great," the 41-year-old added further.
At Wimbledon this year, Federer, who has won a record eight singles titles at All England Club, received a standing ovation at an event to mark the centenary of Centre Court. While the Swiss superstar had hoped to return to the tournament one more time before calling it quits, a scan on the right knee that underwent surgery last summer was not very positive.
However, Federer said he was most proud of his longevity and how he had managed to play at the top of the game.
"I was famous for being quite erratic at the beginning of my career. To become one of the most consistent players ever is quite a shock to me as well. That is a great accomplishment for me personally, that I was able to stay at the top for so long.
"There are so many things I will miss; the fans are at the center of everything. I will miss that, every interaction on the court and off the court," the 20-time Grand Slam champion said.
Along with Nadal and Federer, Team Europe also comprises other stars such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Casper Ruud, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.