And Federer left. The day that sport did not want to come and for which tennis was not prepared landed like an emotional blow on the Swiss, Rafael Nadal and everyone who has enjoyed this sport. The Swiss left, said goodbye, the teacher hung up the racket and leaves tennis an orphan. There will never be another like him.

With Novak Djokovic advising them on the changes, with the tears of Lynette, Federer’s mother, with the look of Rod Laver in the stands, the help of Stefan Edberg and with the last touch of magic from the magician from Basel, who slipped a ball through the gap between the net and the stick that holds it, the curtain was lowered for the work of art that began when in Basel someone decided that little Federer should hold a racket. The Swiss said goodbye to tennis in one of the houses that he has been leaving throughout his 24-year career, the one in which he won eight Wimbledons, more than any other man in history, and in which he crowned two Cups of Teacher.

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This time the prize was not a title. The O2 sold out the 20,000 tickets available to celebrate the farewell of the Swiss. While the stands were covered in blue and red, the colors of Europe and the Rest of the World in the Laver, the first tears dawned. Lynette, mother of the genius and transmitter of her backhand to one hand, shed the first cry of the night. He wouldn’t be the only one. The messages were discovered: “Don’t go.” “Never retire.” “Tennis won’t be the same without you.” The melancholy, the sadness, the love for a unique tennis player merged in a bucolic setting in which the least important thing was the result.

As master of ceremonies was Edberg, Federer’s youth idol and whom he met when he was still a ball boy in Switzerland. Laver presided over the stands, Bjorn Borg, whose challenges were destroyed by Federer, watched him from the bench, John McEnroe almost wished that his pupils would not win. Djokovic gave them advice between changes, and next to Federer, with a mischievous smile, Nadal appeared.

The Spaniard, villain of Federer’s career and the cause of some of his worst afternoons, was the necessary support so that Federer did not do this farewell alone. His friend and companion of a thousand battles flew from Manacor, where he awaits the birth of his first child, just so that when Federer needed a helping hand, Nadal’s would be found.

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In a match with an irregular rhythm, with Federer away from his competitive tennis and Sock and Tiafoe aware of their secondary role in this whole story, Nadal, who was bombarded with balls, pulled the legendary duo’s car. The result was an anecdote and ended in defeat for Nadal and Federer, who had not played for 14 months.

Since Federer, at the age of 13, put aside football to focus on tennis, until this September 23 in London, a thousand stories have passed, hundreds and hundreds of images that have made up the tennis imaginary of an entire generation and of all those who grew up believing they could imitate the impossible shots of a kid from Basel who slammed forehands and drew backhands as if God had given him a special gift to do so. Federer, whose first racket was made of wood, ended up embracing the members of his team one by one, including essential members of his career, such as Andy Murray, Djokovic, Nadal and Borg, one of his childhood idols. .

Very emotional, the Swiss ended up in tears on the London track and chanted with a continuous “Roger, Roger!

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Goodbye, artist.

Federer: “I’m happy, not sad”

the swiss Roger Federer assured, after playing his last game as a professional, that he is happy, not sad. “We’ve managed to get through this somehow,” Federer said at courtside, joined by Jim Courier.

“It’s been a wonderful day. I’m happy, not sad. I’ve enjoyed putting on my slippers one last time. I’ve had my friends here, my family, teammates… I’m very happy to have played the game”, added the Swiss, who did not stop crying throughout the ceremony parting. “I never would have expected all this. I just wanted to play tennis. It was perfect, I would do it again. My final was how I wanted it.”

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Nadal: “When Roger leaves, a part of my life also leaves”

The Spaniard Rafael Nadal assured that, with the departure of Roger Federer from the professional circuit, an “important part” of his life is also gone. “In the end it was very emotional,” Nadal told a news conference after playing alongside Federer in the last match of his professional career. “It has been an honor to be a part of this important moment in the history of our sport.” “It’s been many years sharing many moments. When Roger leaves the circuit, an important part of my life also leaves.”

Nadal commented that the first serves during the match “were very difficult”, because he was “trembling” with nerves and could not serve normally. “But I’ve enjoyed this moment, being a team with him. It makes it more special. I can’t speak of a particular moment. Tonight has been unforgettable.”

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