Roger Federer has explained why he decided the Laver Cup was the opportune moment to retire and avoid a lonely and sad goodbye to tennis.
The Swiss icon will share a court at The O2 Arena in London with a fellow legend of the sport, Rafael Nadal, before calling time on an illustrious career.
Federer and Nadal will form part of the six-man Team Europe side, which also features Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Andy Murray.
Watch Roger Federer’s farewell from tennis in the star-studded Laver Cup between Team Europe and Team World. Streaming ad-free, live and exclusive on Stan Sport on September 23-25
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s three-day tournament, which gets underway on Friday, Federer said he didn’t want a sad send-off on his own.
« I thought London is very fitting for me being my last one because, like you said, down the road at Wimbledon I’ve won so much here at the World Tour finals, » Federer told Sky Sports.
« I qualified so often times and I had the chance to play The O2. I just thought it would be wonderful having [Björn] Borg on the chair, having the greatest players on the planet right now alongside me, and I just felt it wouldn’t feel lonely.
« Because often when you retire, you’re alone on the court. You’ve probably just lost your last match and you’re all emotional and talking how much it meant to you being in the game, and I thought I didn’t want that – I didn’t want that sad moment, I wanted to be happy and more like a party, party mode, and I hope we’re going to get that at The O2 this weekend. »
Federer’s future in the sport was thrown in doubt last year when he bowed out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals.
Shortly thereafter, he underwent surgery on his right knee. It was the third such surgery across an 18-month span.
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Ultimately, the toll of tennis had become too strenuous and the ‘Fed Express’ decided to listen to his body.
For his fellow Team Europe stablemates, it’ll be an opportunity to share the stage one last time with the man who spent 237 straight weeks as the world number one – and 310 all told.
« The opportunity to be on the team with Rafa, Novak and Roger, one last time, is going to be amazing and I think the send-off that he’s going to get is going to be really special, » said Andy Murray.
Novak Djokovic added: « I think he inspired all of us and many other tennis players around the world to dream to become as good as he is.
« He was on the tour for so many years. His elegance on the court, the way he just played tennis is probably unmatched in history with so much ease and so much efficacy as well and the results speak for themselves.
« He’s one of the greatest players ever in the history and definitely a player that has changed the game in many ways. As Andy mentioned, four of us on the team, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience and we’ll try to marvel it as much as we can. »
WHAT IS THE LAVER CUP?
The Laver Cup is a team-based competition and created to honour one of the world’s greatest tennis players, Rod Laver.
The event is made up of five events over three days. Singles and doubles matches are three sets.
The winning team is who reaches 13 points. A match win on Friday earns one point, Saturday wins earn two points, and Sunday wins earn three points.
Each player contests at least one singles match but no more than twice across the three days.
Four of the six members must play doubles, but no combination is played more than once – notwithstanding a decider on day three if the points are all square at 12 apiece.
WHO ARE THE PREVIOUS WINNERS?
Team Europe has won every edition of the Laver Cup since it began in 2017.
WHO IS PLAYING IN THE LAVER CUP?
Team Europe will be represented by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.
Team World will field Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz, Diego Schwartzman, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock and Australia’s own Alex De Minaur.
WHO ARE THE TEAM CAPTAINS?
Björn Borg is the captain of Team Europe while John McEnroe is the captain of Team World.
WHEN IS IT AND HOW CAN I WATCH THE ACTION?
The Laver Cup takes place across September 23-25. Stan Sport will carry all three days of action from Friday through to Sunday.
STAN SPORT FRIDAY SCHEDULE
9:30pm – Day One – Day Session
STAN SPORT SATURDAY SCHEDULE
4am – Day One – Night Session
10pm – Day Two – Day Session
STAN SPORT SUNDAY SCHEDULE
9pm – Day Three – Day Session
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