Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal shared a rivalry like no one before. Their rivalry has been one of the most celebrated affair in sports history with Federer having faced the Spaniard a total of 40 times on ATP tour. But off the court, they share a great rapport and are in fact friends. Hence, when Federer decided to retire from the sport, he wanted his "greatest rival and friend" by his side in a doubles match at Laver Cup. It was only natural how Nadal reacted at the end of the long and entertaining tie in London on Friday which marked the end of the glorious career of Federer.
It was expected to be a perfect swansong for Federer and much of it seemed likely on track after they comfortably grabbed the opening set. But the Team World pair of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock crashed the party as they held nerves in clutch moments to win the match 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9.
Moments after the match, Federer hugged Nadal and his teammates before breaking into tears. It was then that the camera spotted Nadal in tears as well.
"It's been wonderful. And of course playing with Rafa, on the same team, having all the guys here and all the legends, Rocket [Rod Laver], Stefan Edberg - thank you. It is amazing, it really is [to share the court with Rafa and the others]. I didn't want it to feel lonely out there. It felt lonely for a second when they told me to come out one more time, it didn't feel great. But to say goodbye in a team, I always felt I was a team player at heart," Federer said during his emotional farewell speech on Saturday.
"Singles doesn't really do that a whole lot but I've had a team that travelled with me around the world. It's been amazing with them. Thanks to everybody who made it work for so many years. Of course being on a team with Andy [Murray], Thomas [Enqvist], Novak [Djokovic], Matteo [Berrettini], Cam [Norrie], Stefanos [Tsitsipas], Rafa and Casper [Ruud] - and also the other team - you guys are unbelievable."