On Friday, Roger Federer’s career ended in defeat, but the five-minute standing ovation that followed was proof of his distinctive and long-lasting influence on tennis.
Roger Federer was filled with emotion by the admiration of the fans, the seemingly endless waves of clapping and cheering. After losing the Laver Cup match against longtime ally and foe Rafael Nadal in London’s O2 Arena by scores of 6-4, 6-7, and 9-11 to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Federer Dominant career
Roger Federer ended nearly 24 years of dominance on the court, which included more than 1,500 matches, 103 singles victories, and 20 grand slams, in his final match as a professional.
This was, of course, largely because it was Federer’s final match, but it also provided tennis fans with something they hadn’t seen in a while: Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray all in top form and competing at the same tournament.
It’s possible, though, that the 2022 Laver Cup signified the beginning of the end of tennis’ Golden Age as well as the conclusion of Roger Federer’s long and distinguished career.
The prospect of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray retiring soon hangs over tennis because they are all well into their 30s and have all missed time from competition because of injury at some point in their careers.
The same event will never again be represented by this group of sportsmen, or “the big 3 plus some clown,” as Murray playfully referred to them on his own Instagram page.
Roaring applause welcomed Federer
Thunderous cheers greeted the 41-year-old as he entered the court for Team Europe’s first point of the Davis Cup quarterfinal match against Team World. The announcer’s voice was entirely drowned out by the clamor of the crowd before he could introduce the Swiss and his doubles partner Rafael Nadal. As Federer made many brilliant shots toward the net, the O2 Arena crowd gasped. The pair earned the moniker “Fedal” from the public after taking the first set 6-4 and putting themselves in contention to win.
The finest game of the match occurred when the scores were knotted at 5-5. Nadal saved six break points, including one of back-to-back smashes from Federer that elicited boisterous applause from the audience, to put the pair on the verge of victory.
The American team won the second set thanks to a masterful tie break, which set up a thrilling final set.
The third set’s drama, which included Federer and Nadal blowing a 3-0 lead, Tiafoe smashing a forehand into Federer’s back, and Federer’s ace that was met with a standing ovation, was a fitting way to cap out an unparalleled career.