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How to Watch Roger Federer’s Last Match at Laver Cup – The New York Times

The last match of Roger Federer’s 24-year professional career was about to begin, and Andy Murray, one of his rivals turned teammates at this Laver Cup in London, kept his advice short and sweet.

“Enjoy it,” Murray said.

Federer took that to heart on Friday night: acknowledging the roars and support of the sellout crowd in the O2 Arena; smiling often and cracking jokes with his doubles partner Rafael Nadal as they lost to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, 4-6, 7-6 (2), (11-9). The decider after the teams split sets was a 10-point tiebreaker rather than a third set.

The tone, as so often with Federer, seemed just right, but then that was partly by design. Even with a suspect right knee, he could have ended his great career in many a manner and many a venue, but he chose to emphasize the collective: forgoing an individual tour event like Wimbledon or his home city stop in Basel, Switzerland, and opting instead for this team event partly of his own creation.

He could have tried one more singles match. Instead, he chose to play doubles once more with Nadal, settling on the opening night of this three-day event to avoid stealing too much thunder from the homestretch.

But the fun was not restricted to the grand setting, to the series of standing ovations and the Federer banners that read, “Forever our No. 1.”

The tennis turned out to be diverting, too, which was no guarantee considering that Federer had not played a public match of any kind in the nearly 15 months since he slumped out of Wimbledon in 2021 with a straight-set defeat in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz, which included a 6-0 final set.

A ceremonial adieu on Friday night against the Team World doubles team of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe would have been understandable, but Federer managed rather more than that. The first ball he struck in the match was a winner: a reflex forehand volley. And though he mistimed a groundstroke or two and looked uncharacteristically slow off the mark on a short ball in the opening set, he certainly gave the public quite a bit of what they paid from far and wide for.

“Playing doubles is more difficult than singles, because you don’t always get into a rhythm, but he’s done very well,” said Martina Navratilova, the tennis great who was calling the farewell match for Tennis Channel. “It’s easier to come back when you have such good technique, and there’s not really anything to go wrong.”

There has been a grace and purity to Federer’s game since he joined the tour in the late 1990s and was still losing his temper and serve on a regular basis.

But he soon solved his anger management issues and kicked into a new gear: one that no rival could match consistently until Nadal emerged as an unstoppable force on clay and a major threat on every other surface, as well. Novak Djokovic joined the lead pack for real in the 2010s, turning men’s tennis into a Big Three with s strong supporting cast that included Murray and …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/23/sports/roger-federer-nadal-doubles-match.html

The last match of Roger Federer’s 24-year professional career was about to begin, and Andy Murray, one of his rivals turned teammates at this Laver Cup in London, kept his advice short and sweet.

“Enjoy it,” Murray said.

Federer took that to heart on Friday night: acknowledging the roars and support of the sellout crowd in the O2 Arena; smiling often and cracking jokes with his doubles partner Rafael Nadal as they lost to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, 4-6, 7-6 (2), (11-9). The decider after the teams split sets was a 10-point tiebreaker rather than a third set.

The…….

The last match of Roger Federer’s 24-year professional career was about to begin, and Andy Murray, one of his rivals turned teammates at this Laver Cup in London, kept his advice short and sweet.

“Enjoy it,” Murray said.

Federer took that to heart on Friday night: acknowledging the roars and support of the sellout crowd in the O2 Arena; smiling often and cracking jokes with his doubles partner Rafael Nadal as they lost to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, 4-6, 7-6 (2), (11-9). The decider after the teams split sets was a 10-point tiebreaker rather than a third set.

The…….

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