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The Emotions Of Federer's Final Match

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

The Emotions Of Federer’s Final Match

Laver Cup stars reflect on a memorable evening in London

It was an unforgettable scene in the early minutes of Saturday morning in London at the Laver Cup. Team Europe and Team World stood on court inside The O2 with mournful eyes, some players’ flowing with tears. Roger Federer had just played the final ATP Tour match of his career.

But soon those sad looks turned to smiles, as all the stars lifted Federer on their shoulders, celebrating the 41-year-old. Only four players were on court for the match — Federer, Rafael Nadal, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe — but everyone inside the arena felt part of it.

Matteo Berrettini struggled to sleep, but he had the duty of playing in Saturday’s first match for Team Europe.

“One of the reasons why I couldn’t sleep is, like, Roger was crying on my shoulder. Like what did I do to deserve this, you know?” Berrettini wondered. “I kept reminding myself that I had to be focussed in the match, otherwise my feelings, emotions, would be too much to handle.”

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The Italian is one of the best players in the world, having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals twice. Part of the reason he has climbed to his level is the motivation of growing up watching Federer.

“Just really happy to be here and honoured to represent Team Europe instead of him in singles. Having the chances to live what we lived yesterday is something that’s going to be stuck in my heart and my brain forever,” Berrettini said. “I’m not lying when I say that I’m here because of him. Like he was really the one that I was looking up to. He was the one that I was supporting, cheering for him.

“I was getting upset, I remember crying after he lost the finals in 2009 in Australia because he was crying. So for me, living these moments is something really that means everything. So it was tough, tough to sleep.”

More On Federer’s Retirement
Immersive Tribute: The Grit & Grace Of Federer
The Big Three With Me: Federer’s Rivalries With Nadal & Djokovic
Roger’s Grand Slam Greatness
The Immeasurable Impact Of Federer’s Charity Work

It was not any easier Friday evening for the men Federer and Nadal faced in doubles. Both Sock and Tiafoe have praised Federer plenty throughout the week, and they had to stand across the net from him in his final match. The Team World duo triumphed in a Match Tie-break.

“It’s tough, I think. While playing, it felt like a match,” Sock said. “[The magnitude] settled in while we were all bawling our eyes out there afterwards, but during the match, felt like a competitive match.

“I’ve got the opportunity to play him a few times in Laver Cup, and that team before, so brought back some memories of that, which was exciting. Foe and I played him together for the first time, trying to bring crazy energy. Obviously had 99.9 per cent of the crowd against us. But it was super fun to just be a part of that match. I think we are going to be forever grateful to be a part of the GOAT’s final match.

“But I don’t think it settled in until after. When I hit that last shot, and realised it was over, it was, like, kind of went numb.”

Tiafoe quickly added: “Empty feeling.”

Federer certainly felt the emotions of those around him.

“I guess looking around and seeing how everybody got emotional, obviously it’s even better, or even worse, I’m not sure what to say,” Federer said. “That’s what I will remember, is the faces I saw emotional.”

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Nadal On Federer's Retirement: 'An Important Part Of My Life Is Leaving Too'

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

Nadal On Federer’s Retirement: ‘An Important Part Of My Life Is Leaving Too’

Spaniard reflects on his friend and rival’s last match

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The image of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sitting together in tears on their Team Europe bench in the early moments of Saturday morning was worth a million.

For years, Federer and Nadal have contested one of the most captivating rivalries in all of sports. But with their competition has come a great mutual respect and with that, friendship. That showed before, during and after their doubles match on the first day of the Laver Cup.

Nadal explained after the match, the last of Federer’s career, why the moment meant so much to him.

“At the end everything became super emotional. For me, [it has] been [a] huge honour to be a part of this amazing moment of the history of our sport, and at the same time a lot of years sharing a lot of things together,” Nadal said. “When Roger leaves the Tour, an important part of my life is leaving too because [of] all the moments that he [has] been next [to] or in front me in important moments of my life.

“[It] has been emotional see the family, see all the people. Difficult to describe. But, yeah, [it was an] amazing moment.”

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It was fitting after playing each other 40 times, with many of those battles on the world’s biggest stages, that Federer’s career came to an end by Nadal’s side. It felt right that that Nadal called a “super long and positive journey” came to a conclusion that way.

“When I started to be [a] better player, then Roger was always there in front of me. For me [he] was always the guy to beat. So at some point we were probably the biggest rivals – I think always in a very good way. We respect a lot each other, [our] families, [our] teams. I mean, we never had big issues,” Nadal said. “But it’s true that the personal relationship… when we were getting older, I think every year the personal relationship gets better and better [on] a daily basis. I think in some way we understand at the end we have a lot of things similar. We approach life probably similarly.”

More On Roger’s Retirement
Immersive Tribute: The Grit & Grace Of Federer
The Big Three With Me: Federer’s Rivalries With Nadal & Djokovic
Roger’s Grand Slam Greatness
The Immeasurable Impact Of Federer’s Charity Work

Nadal pointed out that part of what made their rivalry so enthralling was how different their games were. Off the court, that is not the case.

“In the family life, personal life, probably we approach life not in a very different way. So that’s why we can trust each other, we can speak very often, and we’re able to speak feeling very free, feeling confident,” Nadal said. “Having somebody like Roger that I feel confident to talk about any personal thing, it’s something that it’s very beautiful after all the things that we shared together and all the important things that we fought for such a long time.

“[I am] very proud to be part of his career in some way. But even for me happier to finish our career like friends after everything we shared on court like rivals.”

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This was Federer’s special retirement moment. But for Nadal, it was an experience he will never forget. Nobody will.

“Since I arrived here yesterday, everything was special,” Nadal said. “Tonight was unforgettable.”

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The Master: Roger Federer At The ATP Masters 1000s

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

The Master: Roger Federer At The ATP Masters 1000s

The Swiss’ 28 Masters 1000 titles are third-most of all-time

Between 2002 and 2019, Roger Federer won 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles, lifting the singles trophy at eight different events. His 28 triumphs trail only Big Three rivals Novak Djokovic (38) and Rafael Nadal (36) on the all-time list.

Federer won 20 Masters 1000 titles on outdoor hard courts — including his last eight— as well as six on outdoor clay and two on indoor hard courts. He completed the Sunshine Double with back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami on three occasions (2005-06, 2017) and won at least one title at the prestigious level in 13 individual years, compiling a 381-108 match record.

The Swiss won four Masters 1000 titles in both 2005 and 2006, capping off his stellar ’06 campaign with another crown at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup in addition to three Grand Slams. Federer’s happiest hunting ground was Cincinnati, where he won seven titles. looks back at Federer’s sterling record across the Masters 1000s.

Indian Wells (5 Titles: 2004-06, 2012, 2017)

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a>
Roger Federer lifts the 2017 Indian Wells title. Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Federer frequently enjoyed a strong start to the ATP Masters 1000 season with high-class performances at the BNP Paribas Open. His five titles in the California desert are his second-most at any Masters 1000 event.

The Swiss won three titles in a row from 2004-06 — winning finals against Tim Henman, Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake without the loss of a set — before striking again in 2012 (def. John Isner) and 2017 (def. Stan Wawrinka) with two more straight-sets final victories. He did not drop a set in his six 2017 matches as he won the title as the tournament’s ninth seed, including a dominant victory against Nadal in the Round of 16.

From 2014-19, Federer reached the final in five straight appearances (not including the 2016 event, which he missed with injury). He held match points against Juan Martin del Potro in the 2018 final but fell just short of his sixth title with a 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) defeat.

His 66 match wins in Indian Wells are his most at any Masters 1000 event; he finished with a 66-13 record, an 83.5 per cent win rate. Federer’s 18 Indian Wells appearances are his joint-most at the level, tied with Miami.

Miami (4 Titles: 2005-06, 2017, 2019)

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a>
Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2005 Miami final. Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After a four-set loss to Andre Agassi in the 2004 Miami final, Federer earned his first title in southern Florida with a five-set comeback against Nadal in the 2005 championship match. The Swiss had avenged his previous year’s defeat to Agassi in straight sets in the semi-finals, but his victory against Nadal was far from straightforward: In the first final meeting between the pair, and just their second ATP Head2Head meeting, Federer battled back from a two-set deficit to score a 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 win.

That result earned Federer the first of his three Sunshine Doubles and levelled his record against Nadal at 1-1 after the Spaniard’s triumph one year earlier at the same venue. The Swiss again swept Indian Wells and Miami the following year, defeating Ivan Ljubicic in three tie-breaks for the 2005 Miami crown.

Federer’s 2017 Miami title run was a memorable display of clutch tennis, with the Swiss riding a 6-1 tie-break record into the final, where he downed Nadal 6-3, 6-4. To reach the title match, Federer won two tie-breaks against Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round, a decisive third-set tie-break against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, and two of three tie-breaks against Nick Kyrgios in a semi-final thriller.

The 2019 Miami title, earned with a win against Isner, proved to be Federer’s last at the ATP Masters 1000 level. He would finish that season with four ATP Tour titles, including the final tour-level title of his career, fittingly in his native Basel.

Monte Carlo (4 Finals: 2006-08, 2014)

Despite the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters being one of two ATP Masters 1000s (alongside Rome) at which Federer did not claim a title, the Swiss still notched 30 wins in the Principality. He had the misfortune of meeting Nadal in three straight finals from 2006-08, as the Spaniard was in the midst of an eight-year reign as champion on the Monaco clay. 

Federer came closest to glory in the 2014 final, when he beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and came within a few points of victory in the final against Wawrinka. But in the all-Swiss final, Wawrinka came from behind to prevail 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.

Hamburg (4 Titles: 2002, 2004-05, 2007)

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a> and <a href=''>Rafael Nadal</a>
Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2007 Hamburg final. Photo Credit: Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

Federer won four titles in five appearances at the Hamburg ATP Masters 1000 event from 2002-07, including triumphs in three consecutive appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2007. From 2004-08, he rattled off a 21-match win streak. 

Federer’s first Masters 1000 title came on the Hamburg clay in 2002, when he defeated Marat Safin 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in the final as the 11th seed. He then defeated Guillermo Coria and Richard Gasquet in 2004 and 2005, before a showdown with Nadal in the 2007 final.

Nadal came into that title tilt with an 81-match win streak on clay, and looked set to extend that mark after taking a 6-2 opening set. But Federer, who lost in straight sets to Nadal in Monte Carlo weeks prior, turned the tables with a dominant performance in sets two and three, soaring to the title behind 6-2 and 6-0 sets. It was his first clay win against his great rival.

But Nadal would get back on top in a three-set 2008 final, winning the final ATP Masters 1000 edition of the Hamburg event and ending Federer’s 21-match winning run.

Madrid (3 Titles: 2006, 2009, 2012)

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a>
Roger Federer won his third Madrid title in 2012. Photo Credit: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Entering the 2006 Madrid hard-court event as World No. 1, Federer lived up to that billing by storming to the title without dropping a set. The Swiss scored two 6-0 sets for good measure, to close out a semi-final victory against David Nalbandian and a final triumph against Fernando Gonzalez. 

He again reached the final without dropping a set in 2007, but fell just short of a successful title defence when Nalbandian battled back from a set down in the championship match. 

Even a change of the Madrid surface to clay in 2009 did not slow Federer’s success in the Spanish capital. He beat Andy Roddick, Del Potro and home favourite Nadal for the 2009 title, and again fell one match short of back-to-back crowns with a loss to Nadal in 2010.

His third Madrid title came in 2012, the only year when the event was held on blue clay, when he came from behind in his opening match against Milos Raonic and again in the final against Tomas Berdych.

Rome (4 Finals: 2003, 2006, 2013, 2015)

While Federer never claimed the title in Rome, he came agonisingly close in 2006. In a match that made’s list of Federer’s 10 most memorable, the Swiss dropped a 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) decision to none other than Nadal. 

Federer led 4-1 in the deciding set, and saw two match points go begging on return at 6-5. He once again led in the tie-break, 5/3, but lost the final four points to fall to a heartbreaking defeat.

In his three other Rome finals, Federer lost to Felix Mantilla (2003), Nadal again (2013) and Djokovic (2015). In his most recent appearance, he saved two match points against Borna Coric to reach the quarter-finals for the eighth time before finishing with a 34-16 record at the Italian event.

Canada (2 Titles: 2004, 2006)

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a>
Roger Federer defeated Richard Gasquet in the 2006 Toronto final. Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Both of Federer’s Canada titles came in Toronto, with final victories against Roddick in 2004 and Gasquet in 2006. His 2004 triumph avenged a semi-final loss one year prior to Roddick, who went on to lift the ’03 Montreal title after winning a third-set tie-break against the Swiss.

The 2004 final pitted World No. 1 against World No. 2, with the top-ranked Federer prevailing 7-5, 6-3 against the American. In 2006, Federer won four straight three-setters to earn the trophy, capping it off with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Gasquet.

He reached an additional four finals, including in 2007, when Djokovic denied him a repeat title in a decisive third-set tie-break. Other final defeats for the Swiss came against Andy Murray (2010), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2014) and Alexander Zverev (2017).

Cincinnati (7 Titles: 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2012, 2014-15)

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a>, <a href=''>Roger Federer</a>
Roger Federer was 3-1 against Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati finals, including his 2015 triumph. Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Federer’s seven-trophy haul in Cincinnati is a tournament record and a personal high at the ATP Masters 1000s. He won each of his first seven finals, including three against Djokovic, dropping just two sets in those seven victories.

In 2009, Federer beat Murray then Djokovic in the last two rounds, both in straight sets, before successfully defending his title with a 6-7(5), 7-6(1), 6-4 final victory against Mardy Fish the following year.

The Swiss did not drop a set in 2012, winning tie-breaks against Fish, Wawrinka and Djokovic. He repeated that flawless feat in 2015, winning tie-breaks against Murray in the semi-finals and Djokovic in the final to finish a remarkable 11-year run with his seventh crown at the American event.

Returning to the Cincinnati final for the eighth time in 2018, Federer fell to Djokovic, who completed the career Golden Masters with the title.

Shanghai (2 Titles: 2014, 2017)

Federer reached the final in his Shanghai debut in 2010 without the loss of a set, beating Djokovic in the semis before falling to Murray in the title match.

He returned to the championship round in 2014, again beating Djokovic in the semi-finals, then edged Gilles Simon 7-6(6), 7-6(2) for his first Shanghai title. In 2017, Federer defeated del Potro 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final, then downed Nadal 6-4, 6-3 to claim the trophy.

The Swiss closed out his Shanghai resume with semi-final and quarter-final runs in 2018 and 2019.

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Paris (1 Title: 2011)

A dominant 2011 run yielded Federer his lone title at the Rolex Paris Masters. He defeated three Frenchmen — Adrian Mannarino, Gasquet and Tsonga — as he won his five matches without the loss of a set, capped off by a 6-1, 7-6(3) win against Tsonga in the final. One year prior, he dropped a dramatic semi-final against France’s Gael Monfils by a 7-6(7), 6-7(1), 7-6(4) scoreline.

The Swiss also returned to the semi-finals in 2013 and 2018, falling to Djokovic in three sets on both occasions, including a 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(3) thriller in ’18.

Nitto ATP Finals (6 Titles: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011)

A record-breaking complement to his Masters 1000 successes, Federer’s performances at the Nitto ATP Finals clearly demonstrated his ability to consistently dominate even against the very best in the world.

The Swiss’ year-on-year exploits saw him qualify for the season-ending showpiece a record 18 times, every year from 2002 to 2020 except for 2016. His six titles are also an event record and his 59 wins is the highest tally in tournament history.

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Berrettini Blasts Team Europe Back In Front

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

Berrettini Blasts Team Europe Back In Front

Norrie will face Fritz in second afternoon match

Matteo Berrettini fired Team Europe back in front against Team World on Saturday at the Laver Cup. The Italian edged Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(11), 4-6, 10-7 to move his side into a 4-2 lead in London.

In a hard-fought battle, the Italian caused damage with his aggressive forehand, while he hit his backhand slice with great depth to keep the Canadian at bay. The World No. 15 saved one break point in the first set, before raising his level on serve in the Match Tie-break to seal his victory after two hours and 15 minutes.

“It is always a great fight against Felix,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “We played for two and 15 minutes and he is a hell of a player. I had to play my best tennis in the [Match] Tie-break to win. I am really happy because I didn’t win just for me but for the team.”

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Berrettini now leads Auger-Aliassime 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the 22-year-old at the Laver Cup last year. Cameron Norrie will look to extend Team Europe’s lead when he faces American Taylor Fritz in the second match of the afternoon session.

Captain Bjorn Borg is aiming to guide Team Europe to its fifth consecutive Laver Cup title against John McEnroe’s Team World this week in the UK capital. The sides ended the first day level, after Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe clawed past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Swiss star’s final tour-level match on Friday night. Each victory on Saturday is worth two points.

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Sonego Outserves Hurkacz To Reach Metz Final

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

Sonego Outserves Hurkacz To Reach Metz Final

Italian upsets defending champ, sets final clash with Bublik

Lorenzo Sonego was taking on one of the ATP Tour’s biggest servers in Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday afternoon at the Moselle Open. Yet it was the Italian’s delivery which proved impenetrable as he upset the 2021 champion to reach the final at the ATP 250 event in Metz.

In a semi-final clash with few opportunities on return, it was Sonego who held his nerve to advance to his fifth tour-level final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win. He stayed consistent to claim the first-set tie-break before converting the sole break point of the match at 3-3 in the second set to wrap a 99-minute victory.

“I’m really happy, because this is my first final this year, and I’ve played so well day after day,” said Sonego after the match. ”I’m really happy for that. Hubi is a great server, and it’s very tough to return the ball, but today I played so well and I enjoyed every moment on court.”

Sonego won 84 per cent (38/45) of points behind his first serve against the second seed Hurkacz, who in comparison won 72 per cent (31/43) on his first delivery. The win moves Sonego into a 3-2 lead in his ATP Head2Head series against the Pole, while the Italian’s run in Metz has propelled him up 13 spots to No. 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

The 27-year-old Sonego has seen off a series of high-quality opponents with his impressive form this week in Metz. He took out sixth seed Aslan Karatsev, three-time champion Gilles Simon and talented American Sebastian Korda to reach the semi-finals, and Saturday’s straight-sets win means he is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

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Sonego will next play for his third ATP Tour title in Sunday’s final against Alexander Bublik. The seventh seed advanced to his second tour-level championship match of the season after Stan Wawrinka was forced to retire after just three games of the pair’s semi-final clash.

Bublik, who led 16-time tour-level titlist Wawrinka 2-1 in the opening set before the Swiss was forced to stop, lifted his maiden ATP Tour trophy on indoor hard courts in Montpellier in February. However, the Kazakh World No. 44 will enter Sunday’s clash against Sonego with a 0-3 deficit in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

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After Raising The Roof, Federer's Racquet Falls Silent

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2022

After Raising The Roof, Federer’s Racquet Falls Silent

Swiss was playing in his final tour-level match

With the world watching, the curtain came down on Roger Federer’s historic career on Friday night at the Laver Cup. In front of an electric crowd, the Swiss maestro teamed with longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal to strike his final shots at The O2 in London.

The former World No. 1 looked sharp around the net and fired his seemingly effortless groundstrokes through the court throughout the two-hour, 16-minute clash. However, he was ultimately unable to earn the 1,382nd win of his career in singles and doubles, falling to Team World pair Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

The Americans rallied from a set down to defeat their legendary opponents 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9, levelling the Laver Cup at 2-2 after the first day.

“We’ll get through this somehow, will we? Right?,” Federer said with a cracked voice during his on-court interview. “I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time. The match was great, I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful.”

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a> says his final farewell to fans at The O2.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Federer was overcome with emotion in the immediate aftermath of the match, hugging teammate Nadal and waving to the crowd as he embraced the roar from his fans for the final time.

The Swiss star then walked to his chair for the last time, where he stood alongside his teammates and hailed the capacity crowd. Federer was unable to contain his emotion when addressing the arena during his on-court interview, breaking down in tears as he shared final words of thanks and gratitude to his family, team and supporters.

“Playing with Rafa on the same team, and having the guys, everybody here, all the legends – Rocket, Edberg, Stefan — thank you,” said Federer, who was joined on court by his his parents, wife Mirka and their four children. “I didn’t want it to feel lonely out there. It felt lonely for a second when they told me to go out… but to be saying goodbye on a team, I always felt I was a team player at heart. Singles doesn’t really do that but I’ve had a team that travelled with me around the world. It’s been amazing with them, so thanks to everybody who made it work for so many years.

“And then of course being on the team with Andy, Thomas, Novak, Matteo, Cam, Stefanos, Rafa and Casper… and also the other team, you guys are unbelievable. It’s been a pleasure playing all these Laver Cups.

“It does feel like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this at the end, and it’s exactly what I hoped for, so thank you.”

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The former World No. 1 leaves the sport as a legend. He won 103 tour-level titles and spent 310 weeks at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Federer first faced Nadal in 2004 at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami. They battled it out a further 39 times over the years, competing against each other in 24 finals.

Having built a special relationship, it was fitting for Federer to end his career alongside the Spaniard, with ‘Big Four’ stars Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray cheering them on from the sidelines. His parents, wife Mirka and children were also watching courtside.

“We have to go there?” he joked when asked about his family. “I’ve done OK so far. I’m at least able to talk. In my vision, I was never able to talk so I’m doing way better.

“My wife’s been so supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play. It’s amazing. Thank you.”

In an entertaining match, Federer and Nadal were in high spirits throughout, smiling and entertaining the crowd with their dynamic shotmaking. During the third game of the first set, the Swiss star fired a forehand through a gap in the net. Despite Team World being awarded the point, the Swiss-Spanish tandem shared a smile as they walked back to the baseline.

With the crowd roaring them on, Federer and Nadal played with freedom, matching the Americans’ intensity in a series of all-court exchanges to win the first set. After Sock and Tiafoe won the second set, a Match Tie-break was left to decide Federer’s final clash. With the crowd on their feet, it was the Americans who found a way, saving one match point at 8/9 to edge a thrilling tie-break.

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