Federer, on the day of his farewell to the Laver Cup and lost a double to Nadal

At the O2 Arena, the last chapter of the Swiss rally: when paired with a Spanish rival friend, he surrenders 2-1 to Sock and Tiafoe

From our reporter Federica Cocchi

At 00.25 on the Greenwich meridian, Roger Federer’s career ends in defeat. After a severe break in a tie with his friend Rafa Nadal against Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe in the last match of his tennis career. It ends with tears and applause, with tears for the whole team, from the stands, in the press room. Because Roger Federer deserved a happy ending for everything he did for tennis and sports. “It was a great day, I’m happy and not sad, I just told the guys. I enjoyed every moment, from tying my shoes last time to play, to being here with family and friends. It’s over and I couldn’t be happier. Playing with Rafa with so many Legends are by my side.” Then he starts crying and with him is Rafa and the rest of the team. He tries to continue: “Everything is unusual, I did not want to feel lonely, I wanted to say goodbye to the team competition. I was always in a team. It was a pleasure, I wanted to feel like this, like a party. He then thanked Mirka: “Mirka could have blocked me a long time ago and she didn’t, she let me keep playing and it was great.” Everyone is feeling sad, even Carlos Alcaraz who keeps tweeting from home until the end. Until a fresh start.

the match

They enter the field with a frenzy of 20,000 O2, including Red Cross flags and banners. Spectators of a certain level in the stands: Bill Gates, Hugh Grant, Anna Wintour, Stella McCartney as well as past tennis glories. Laver, Edberg and Sasha Zverev Milled. The rust of Roger, who hasn’t played for a year, can be seen, but it’s calm. As far as two spans, it may be who, together, count 44 Slams and are not programmed to lose. And in fact, led by his teammates, Djokovic won first of all the first set. But the fight is real, Federer’s rust out for a year, too. And the American showmen (watch out, we could find them against us in Davis) take a break. The apparent duo earn a counter-breaking opportunity but Roger’s response sends Sock off a landslide at Wimbledon. Rafa, who does not want to lose even the mystery and quest, encourages him. Upon changing the pitch at 3-2 until Berrettini had his say while Carlitos Alcaraz, who had spoken months ago about calling this exclusive party, shared his social media. In the sixth inning, the award-winning Rafa & Roger reclaims the first half and leads 4-3. Djokovic rejoices, suffers and coaches, he even sings “Bioly is on fire” on the field changing to gala music.

“Maybe have Tiafoe play another shot when he’s at the back.” Rafa listens to him: “Ah ok let’s get him to take another shot and go to the net, cool.” Unusual moments. The second set is played in the tiebreak. There are those who would like it never to end. In fact, Sock-Tiafoe wins. It was worth a super tie-breaker. It’s a tug of war, at 6-7 for Sock-Tiafoe, perhaps giving Roger another volley of wonders. He does not want to come out defeated. In 7-7 Tiafoe takes the king in full. whistles. R&R Match Point. with service. Nothing to do, you still have to suffer. This time the match point is against. Thus ends 2-1.

last exercise

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal completed their final training session at the O2 Arena in the late afternoon. Master strokes, smiles and selfies. With Moya posing for photos with Roger, Anna Wintour in a red leather coat and inescapable black glasses, to salute the heroes. And the Rafa family is in full force. The moment of farewell is approaching. Roger left the hotel for the O2 Arena.

Meanwhile, the system is full, and the first match of the evening session begins in a matter of minutes. Federer’s people arrived carrying flags and banners.

Protest on the field

The Friday of Tennis Passion kicked off with an afternoon session of the Laver Cup, the final stage of Roger Federer who tonight (Live on Eurosport 1 and Discovery+ from 8pm) will officially retire from tennis. After a dinner party that once again saw Fab4 together, James Bond look, laugh and have fun together, today is the last day of school for the hero who took tennis to another level.

Long approaching farewell day, here in London, since Wednesday when the Swiss first spoke to the press about his farewell, about choosing London as a place of heart in tennis, and of course about the Laver Cup which is his creation. O2 Arena is full from the morning to watch the first two matches between Casper Ruud and Jack Sock, Europe’s first point in the Super Break, and between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman for Roger’s 2-0 team.

Precisely for this reason, given the attention and presence of all the media, a young activist managed to enter the field and, fortunately, set his arm on fire without consequences. “Enough of UK private jets,” was the protest of the boy who had been taken away by the security forces.

Meanwhile, on the pitch, Roger Federer’s every move, every expression, and “contribution from the bench” is followed, even if the most active in training is Rafa Nadal who never wants to lose, not even in trump.