Roger Federer has revealed that Rafael Nadal told him that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to play with him at the Laver Cup upon his retirement. Federer decided to conclude his career in London after suffering for months with injury problems.
It wasn’t meant to be for Federer’s Team Europe, with Team World winning the trophy for the first time. Though that certainly didn’t take away from the occasion, with tears being shed after the curtain was pulled on Federer’s unbelievable career.
The 103-time title winner struggled with a knee injury towards the end of his career but was determined to retire on his own accord, wanting to bow out with a doubles match with long-term rival Nadal. Speaking on the Daily Show, Federer revealed how the emotional phone call with Nadal went.
He explained: “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 (about his decision to retire).
“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?’”
Nadal, who was particularly heartbroken at the end of the Laver Cup, replied: “Okay, oh my god, okay, yeah I will be there whatever it takes.” Federer and Nadal failed to secure victory on Centre Court, losing to American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tifaoe.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic also represented Team Europe, and they too were forced to acknowledge the prospect of retirement in the coming years as a result. Speaking about how he was pleased that Nadal attended his concluding Laver Cup, Federer said: “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.
“So when he (Nadal) 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.”