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Oh my god: Roger Federer reveals emotional phone call with Rafael Nadal before announcing retirement

India Today 08-12-2022 India Today Web Desk
Oh my god: Roger Federer reveals emotional phone call with Rafael Nadal before announcing retirement © Provided by India Today Oh my god: Roger Federer reveals emotional phone call with Rafael Nadal before announcing retirement

Tennis great Roger Federer has revealed that Rafael Nadal was the first person outside his family and team to learn about his retirement, adding that he had an emotional phone call with his arch-rival before he announced his decision to hang up his boots.

Roger Federer brought the curtains down on one of the most decorated careers in sport on September 15, adding that the Laver Cup in the following week would be his last competitive tournament on the tour. Federer's decision left the tennis fraternity heartbroken as the 20-time Grand Slam champion had hinted about returning to Wimbledon next year but his knee injury issues forced him to call it time.

Federer and Nadal shared a wonderful rivalry on the court, having met 40 times on the tour in their career. The two greats of the sport have produced some of the most iconic duels, leading to the golden era of men's singles tennis. While there was no love lost when the two met on the court, Federer and Nadal have shared great camaradarie off the court.

It was no surprise when Federer, speaking to Trevor Noah in the latest episode of the Daily Show, revealed that he had to call Nadal and ask him if he was available to play doubles with him at the Laver Cup. In fact, the doubles match which Federer and Nadal lost, turned out to be the Swiss great's last competitive match. 

Federer revealed that Nadal was not sure if he would be able to make it to London for the Laver Cup as he was awaiting the birth of his first child but that the Spaniard had promised that he would try and make it to the farewell match. 

"This is a very unusual situation for us to be on the same team. That changed the whole dynamics of my farewell. My hope was I could play doubles with Rafa. So I called him up after the US Open. It was a very emotional phone call because it was one of the first times I told somebody outside of my team and my family," Federer said. 

"I had to call him up and tell him 'hey Rafa, just before you make any other plans, I would love you to be at the Laver Cup and play maybe one last doubles with me. It would be amazing. Unfortunately, my knee is not good anymore and I think, it's the end, you know?'.  

"And he is like, 'okay, oh my god, okay, yeah I will be there whatever it takes'. 

"He has now become a father, happy for him. And we were not sure if he was going to make it because of the baby. It was one of the first times I had to tell that story and come to terms that my career was ending," Federer added. 


The Laver Cup was an emotional ride for tennis fans as Federer and Nadal joined hands for one last time. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murry and Bjorn Borg also made it special for Federer by being there and taking part in the emotional goodbye. 

In a heartwarming moment, both Nadal and Federer were seen tearing up after their doubles match at the Laver Cup and Federer even held the Spaniard's hands for emotional support. 

Recalling the emotional moments from the Laver Cup, Federer said he was touched by the gesture from his mates as he bid goodbye to the sport. 

"So when he showed up, and Novak was there, and Murray was there, and Bjorn Borg was there, it was an amazing moment. I knew it was going to be an emotional moment.

"I have cried a lot in victory and defeat when I was younger, I don't why, I do it. I am happy because I remember that moment because of it. When I took the mic after it was all over, I knew it was going to be bad, but I did pretty good. I was so happy that I was able to be there in tennis clothes. 

"And it was amazing to do it in London too, where I have had so much success. 

"Rafa there holding my hand, briefly people thought it was… I held his hand, actually. It was amazing," he added. 


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