Roger Federer on playing his last match: “I’m not sure if I can handle it at all.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will play his final professional match with Rafael Nadal in the doubles at the Laver Cup on Friday

Roger Federer Laver Cup Roger Federer, 2022 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Roger Federer says he is not sure how he will cope with the emotions of playing his last match.

The 41-year-old will bow out of professional tennis on Friday when he plays with Rafael Nadal in doubles at the Laver Cup in London, his right knee having failed to recover sufficiently from surgery in 2021.

“I’m not sure if I can handle it all,” Federer told a press conference. “I’ll try. I have had some tougher moments as well in the past, you know, being horribly nervous, you know, all these years sometimes before matches. This one definitely feels a whole lot different.”

Federer and Nadal will play doubles together for the first time, a fitting end given their incredible rivalry which saw them meet 40 times (Nadal leads 24-16) and nine times in Grand Slam finals (6-3 to Nadal).

“Of course, it’s super special playing with Rafa,” he said. “It feels really different, you know. Just walking out on court and having the chance to play with the likes of Rafa or Novak (Djokovic) also in the past has been an amazing experience for me. So to be able to do that one more time, I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.”

Nadal: “It will be difficult for me, too”

Nadal said he was not sure how he will cope, either.

“it’s going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt,” he said. “For me, too. You know, at the end, one of the most important players, if not most important player in my tennis career, is leaving. At the end, live this moment will be difficult.”

Federer and Nadal will play Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in the doubles on Friday night, a tough match, but one that’s sure to be played in an incredible atmosphere.

“Like I said, I will try my very best,” Federer said. “I hope to be good out there, and of course I will enjoy it but it will be hard.”

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