‘Thank you, Roger’: Federer’s last match is doubles loss with Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer has officially played his final ATP match, and tennis fans are feeling grateful.

Federer competed in doubles with long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal, representing Team Europe at the Laver Cup against Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of Team World.

While the Americans came out on top, the night was all about celebrating the careers of one of the best to ever do it.

After the final match point of his career, fans from around the world took to social media to say, “Thank you, Roger.”

Federer bid adieu Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that spanned nearly a quarter-century and included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman’s role.

The truth is that the victors, the statistics, and the score (OK, for the record, it was 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9) did not matter and were all so entirely beside the point.

The occasion was, after all, about the farewell itself. Or, better, the farewells, plural: Federer’s to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities’ farewells to Federer.

“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”

When the match and, with it, his time in professional tennis ended, Federer hugged Nadal, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then Federer began crying. There were plenty of tears to go around; Nadal wiped his own away, too.

As cascades of clapping and yells of affection came from the stands, Federer put his hands on his hips, his chest heaving. Then he mouthed, “Thank you,” while applauding right back toward the spectators who had chanted, “Let’s go, Roger! Let’s go!” during the concluding moments of a match that lasted more than two hours and ended at about 12:30 a.m.

His wife, Mirka, their four children — twin girls and twin boys — and Federer’s parents joined him on the court afterward for embraces and, yes, more bawling. Members of both teams joined together to hoist Federer up in the air.

His wife, Mirka, their four children — twin girls and twin boys — and Federer’s parents joined him on the court afterward for embraces and, yes, more bawling. Members of both teams joined together to hoist Federer up in the air.

“It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy; I’m not sad,” Federer said. “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.”

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