Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had many epic duels over the years. As Federer gets ready to call it a career, the two will share the court one last time — as partners.
Thursday’s Laver Cup draw revealed that Federer will team with Nadal in doubles for his final match Friday night in London before retiring. The two will face Americans Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, then Matteo Berrettini will replace Federer for the remainder of the tournament.
“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,” Federer said of teaming with Nadal, according to ESPN.
Nadal, who appeared with Federer on the practice court Thursday along with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, said it’s going to “be difficult to handle everything” about Federer’s sendoff match.
“After all the amazing things that we shared together on and off court, be part of this historic moment gonna be something amazing [and] unforgettable for me,” Nadal said during Team Europe’s group press conference, per Tennis.com.
The 41-year-old Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, announced his retirement on social media last Thursday, citing the “challenges” his lingering knee issues have presented.
Though it’s in vogue for aging iconic athletes to waffle on retirements — Tom Brady unretired after 40 days and Serena Williams left the door ajar for more tennis after the US Open — Federer told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that he’s “definitely done.”