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“I hope I didn’t make the team lose” – Despite Federer’s words, his farewell was anything but a loss

Jokes aside, this weekend’s Laver Cup was a win for tennis, in the biggest way.

Roger Federer and Team Europe, 2022 Roger Federer and Team Europe, 2022 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

After Team World polished off a stunning comeback to defeat Team Europe for the first time in Laver Cup history, Roger Federer took the mic to make one final statement to the fans in London.

The Swiss, much more composed than he was during Friday night’s now famous waterwork session, had jokes.

“It’s been great. It’s been a little bit emotional at times, but I recovered, the team recovered,” he said. “I hope I didn’t make the team lose but I had a wonderful time and I can’t think you enough for that – thank you, guys.”

Far from hurting his team, or the event, Federer brought it to new heights this weekend in London. He played his heart out alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal on Friday in defeat, and despite the loss, Team Europe was in perfect shape ahead of Sunday’s action at the O2 Arena, leading 8-4 and needing just a split of the four matches to clinch victory.

Tiafoe and Auger-Aliassime to blame

If there’s anybody to blame for the lack of a victory on Sunday, it would be Frances Tiafoe and Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Team World stalwarts who came up with pitch-perfect tennis just when they needed it most.

But never mind the win or the loss, because at the end of a truly momentous weekend in which the legacy of one of the greatest tennis players in all of history was celebrated, fans were left with nothing but positive vibes. It’s a strong statement but it rings true: the way that Federer and his Big 4 brethren embraced the moment and demonstrated their respect for one another, both professionally and personally, had to be one of the high points of these last two decades of otherworldly tennis.

Even at the end of the line, when there is no tennis left to be played, these iconic legends can surprise us with their intuition, their camaraderie, and their willingness to honour each other and the sport.

Federer : “I am disappointed”

Still, it was the sting of a loss that was fresh on the mind moments after Frances Tiafoe finished off his epic comeback against Stefanos Tsitsipas to clinch victory for Team World.

“Of course I’m disappointed,” Federer said. “I was on the team. Almost lost my voice. My hands hurt from clapping.

“So, yes, I am disappointed. We wish the result would be different. Told Andy in the locker room, I don’t like losing. It’s not fun. It just leaves not the best taste. I think once you have been there and taste success, it’s just not the same.

“We all travel tomorrow, and I hope tonight can be still somewhat of an enjoyable evening. Of course this weekend has been all over the place for me. I enjoyed it, but it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win tonight.

Once the sting fades, the realisation will once again set in that something magical has occurred this weekend in London. The sadness of bidding farewell to Federer was balanced out by the joy we all felt in celebrating his epic career one final time – we can only hope that we get the same feeling when it is time for Nadal, Djokovic and Murray to bid farewell.

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