c. Sok / F. tiafu [WRD] B. R. Federer / R. Nadal [EUR] 4-6 7-6 (2) [11-9]
Just past midnight for 25 minutes in London, when Jack Sock’s forehand hit the field, I won. Roger Federer’s career is officially over And putting an end to that was Jacques Sock and Francis Tiafoe, and they saved a match point that certainly wouldn’t have made a touching tribute to the Swiss legend of the sport he honored and loved. Inside the O2 Arena, some have been stirred (even among players, including Nadal who has never seen a tennis court), some are celebrating and waving flags and banners holding his name aloft, and some have since issued a press release on September 15 that put an end to For his history as a professional tennis player, they are still struggling to absorb the news. On such occasions, there is no question of what behavior best suits the situation. Everyone experiences it in their own way and gives it its inner meaning. They are adverb phrases that are repeated in the face of mourning, right. But without wanting to cover the article with a funeral veil, if withdrawing from competitions is the end of an essential part of life, it is right to begin the story of a historical evening in this way.
London as a theater, again. The city in which Federer has won more Grand Slams out of his 20 titles, or Eight wins at Wimbledon. City where he played his last match of the tour in singles, also at Wimbledon, losing to Hurkacz in July 2021. But also the one in which he won the last match, against Sonego, in the same tournament. A city where in 2019 he beat the top 10 (or one of the “Big Three”) for the last time, Novak Djokovic at the O2 Arena which was not on the 23rd, as previously thought, but on September 24, 2022 the last honor was dedicated to him.
It’s the same London that in the week Roger Federer played his last match, he also greeted forever one of the icons of the last century, Queen Elizabeth II. According to many, Elizabeth was the bridge between two historical eras, between the 20th century and the new millennium, that accompanied not only the United Kingdom but entire generations with its constant presence (in London it is also known as ‘reassuring’). to different latitudes through the most sudden and persistent changes. Take up what Agostino Nigro wrote, Roger Federer in tight sports has done the same, building a 24-year bridge between two tennis eras. Entering the ATP circuit at the end of an era dominated by specialists and a variety of styles, he finally retired having made way for the army of muscular and monochromatic players. Roger adapted to both eras, without ever trying to rise above the system and alter its natural evolution.
Elizabeth’s actual farewell to her people was solemnly given during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022, That Federer at the tennis level is the Laver Cup 2022. It all ramped up over the weekend at the end of September, without the pressures and commitments of ecclesiastical championship. Around him, wearing the same jersey, are opponents with whom he has shared the defining moments of his long career, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and especially the greatest friend and rival Rafa Nadal. As in the finale of a romantic movie, King Roger shared his last match as a professional tennis player with him in the doubles.. With it Nadal who made him cry after the 2009 Australian Open final and inflicted him with what he described as “the most painful” defeat at Wimbledon in 2008, as well as breaking it like a hurricane on the track he had controlled until then. This farewell – and perhaps even this friendship – will remain unique in the history of the sport. All this, under the eyes of the leaders sitting on the benches of Team Europe and Team World, respectively Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, are also heroes of the last century of romantic rivalry and the perfect preparation for what happened on the field.
A picture of Novak Djokovic with his mobile phone in hand to resume entering the field of his rival could already be the cover of the evening. But there are many other moments that catch the eye from the moment the heroes of the game begin to warm up. There is an almost melancholy look of Federer who seems to want to absorb and capture every moment, and the smiles (unusually during a tennis match) of Rafa and Foran Americans Tiafoe and Sock even if only in support of the two champions. And there are moments that we are no longer accustomed to, ie You see Federer bouncing the ball twice with his racket, then bouncing two or three times with his left hand, a focused look at the net and then that distinct serve-hitting move.. Spinning racket is waiting for a response. Or with a fist, to show determination and calmness at the same time, after winning a point.
But beyond sweetness, we’ve seen Federer naturally out of pace, author of many well-executed shots, but also many mistakes you’d never see him make if he had more matches on his shoulders.
the match Roger and Rafa risk 4-4 and eliminate a break point. Then in the next match A couple of deep answers, of one and the other, gave Team Europe the first set, 6-4. Once again, charisma seemed sufficient against younger opponents. But John McEnroe reminded Jack and Frances that it was still a competition, and a match had to be won regardless of the implications for Federian. Then the Americans returned to the field with more determination, just enough to rest after a shot from Federer (he’ll forgive us). However, the two Europeans regained the break soon after, with an unusual double touch by Tiafoe on the breaking point. Almost an embarrassment when Rafa and Roger hit a 30-30 response at 5-4, probably the last two points in King Roger’s career. But Rafa sends a forehand in return and in the next match the two (44 slams together) have to save 6 break points before climbing 6-5.
Still two points away from winning thanks to three straight points from the Swiss, Nadal and Federer play a poor tiebreak and have allowed tennis to see Roger play a little longer. Well, everyone thinks. Team Europe starts better, goes 3-0, then Roger misses another backhand kick and equalizes everything again. Tiafoe also allows himself to hit Federer on the arm to raise his team to 8-7 and serve, but the two champs interact, This time Roger plays a great, beautiful and complex shot, but at 9-8 the Europeans don’t convert match point. A response from Tiafoe nearly knocked Nadal into the net instead gives the match point to Team World, who then closes the match in a surreal atmosphere. It is a time of tears, streaming profusely on the face of the Swiss who is almost struggling to speak in the post-match interview, but also to his family, from Mirka to his mother Lynette in the stands.
Now it’s really over, Roger. Remember, you promised you wouldn’t be a ghost in tennis. You’ll be there, with other shows. And also for the next two days of the Laver Cup to cheer on your teammates. I shook hands with Mohamed Lahyani, chair of the jury, the same person who officiated the match with Sampras at Wimbledon 2001, a meeting that changed the history of tennis forever, until now. Where “It was a great trip. Thank you all!” concluded. So let’s turn this around. Thank you, Roger. Among all those you have inspired and sported on your splendid and unrepeatable journey. Even by those who, without seeing your old match, in all probability would not have the honor of writing these lines.
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