Roger Federer’s stellar career ended on a losing note early Saturday morning in London when Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of Team World notched a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 1-0 (11-9) win over Federer and Rafael Nadal of Team Europe in a Laver Cup doubles match.
Federer and Nadal had a match point when leading 9-8 in the tiebreak but weren’t able to convert as Federer hit a forehand into the net. That was part of three straight points for Team World, with Sock ending it with a dynamic blast down the baseline.
But Federer, 41, wasn’t about to let a defeat ruin the moment.
“It’s been a wonderful day,” Federer said in an on-court interview. “I told the guys I’m happy, I’m not sad.”
Though the script didn’t come to fruition, the Swiss native soaked in the atmosphere as he broke down in tears on multiple occasions.
“It feels like a celebration to me,” Federer said. “I wanted it to feel like this at the end — and it does.”
Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles in his career, third all-time behind Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). He won Wimbledon eight times, the Australian Open on six occasions and the U.S. Open five times. He also won one French Open.
Overall, he won 103 singles titles, second behind Jimmy Connors (109) and spent 310 weeks at No. 1 (including a record 237 straight). He also collected over $130 million in prize money.
Federer said he never could have imagined such a career when he turned pro in 1998.
“I was just happy to play tennis and spend time with my friends,” Federer said. “It has been a perfect journey. I would do it all over again.”
The win by Sock and Tiafoe left the event tied 2-2 after one day.
Team Europe jumped out to a 2-0 lead on singles victories by Norway’s Casper Ruud and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Ruud had a 6-1 edge in aces as he produced a 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7) victory over Sock. Tsitsipas committed just six unforced errors while rolling to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.
Team World got its first point when Alex de Minaur knocked off Great Britain’s Andy Murray 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7). The Aussie had a 28-22 edge in winners.
Second-seeded Hubert Hurkacz collected 12 aces while cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over France’s Arthur Rinderknech to advance to the semifinals in Metz, France.
Rinderknech had 10 aces but was no match for Hurkacz, who faced just one break point. Hurkacz will next face Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, who posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sebastian Korda.
Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka advanced with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) win over Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, Wawrinka will face seventh-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, who defeated No. 4 Holger Rune of Denmark 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
–Field Level Media