Roger Federer has fittingly got his wish at the Laver Cup after confirmation that the retiring Swiss great will partner Rafael Nadal in doubles, for the final match of his storied career.
Federer and Nadal will team up at the Laver Cup in London on Friday in a match that will bring the curtain down on one of the greatest tennis careers the world has ever known.
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The 20-time grand slam champion and Nadal - owner of a men's-record 22 major championships - will pair up for Team Europe against the Team World duo of US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.
The lineup for Day 1 at the competition founded by Federer's management company was announced in London on Thursday.
The singles matches will be two-time grand slam runner-up Casper Ruud against Sock, and 2021 French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas against Diego Schwartzman during the day session, and three-time major champion Andy Murray against Australia's Alex de Minaur at night.
Federer and Nadal's doubles showdown will then round out the opening night in what is looming as one of the most highly anticipated matches of all time.
Making the occasion even more incredible for fans was the fact Federer and Nadal joined Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray for a practice hit-out in London on Thursday.
Fans packed out London's O2 Arena to get a glimpse of the greatest four male tennis players of their generation in action.
The extraordinary scenes left the tennis world giddy on social media, as fans soaked up history in the making.
Massive Standing Ovation as Roger Federer enters Center Court at the O2 Arena for Team Europe’s open practice alongside Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Goose bumps. #Federer #LaverCup pic.twitter.com/SjCKaDWjhl
— Simon Häring (@_shaering) September 22, 2022
Roger Federer will play the last match of his career tomorrow, around 9pm London time, alongside Rafa Nadal.
They will face Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe. pic.twitter.com/ajMyZI3pzC
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 22, 2022
— fedaltennis⁴² (@TennisFedal) September 15, 2022
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer... Practicing together.
This is a MOMENT in our sport. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/3csxOKRcT2
— Murray Musings Podcast (@MurrayMusing) September 22, 2022
The most Grand Slam Finals played against each other in HISTORY.
195 combined ATP Titles.
42 combined Grand Slams.
And now Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer are teaming up in the last match of Federer’s career. 🐐 🐐 pic.twitter.com/sDGY3Lgkfc
— Whistle (@WhistleSports) September 22, 2022
Bit of a collectors’ item. Amid a cacophony of screaming Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray practising together. pic.twitter.com/5h9QhJqXaX
— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) September 22, 2022
The fact Roger Federer wanted to play his last match alongside his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, tells everything about his person and his beautiful relationship with Rafa. They will share this moment together.
Fedal will last forever.#LacerCup pic.twitter.com/CF6kot4yQD
— Relevant Tennis | Stats & Info (@RelevantTennis) September 22, 2022
Roger Federer in 'dream' doubles match-up with Rafa Nadal
The 41-year-old Federer is retiring after the Laver Cup following a series of operations on his right knee. He hasn't competed in singles or doubles since a quarter-final loss at Wimbledon to Hubert Hurkacz in July 2021.
Back in February of this year, when word emerged that Federer would be in London this week, he said Nadal messaged him last year suggesting they play doubles together again.
They teamed up to win a doubles match during the first Laver Cup in 2017 and Federer described the Spaniard as his "dream" partner.
"If we're able to possibly share the court one more time as a doubles pairing," Nadal said in February, "then this would be a truly special experience for us both at this stage in our careers."
While other contemporaries of Federer and stars of the sport are on Team Europe, such as 21-time slam champion Djokovic and Murray, Federer's head-to-head rivalry with Nadal will go down in history as among the greatest rivalries in tennis or any other sport.
They played each other 40 times in all (Nadal won 26), with 14 grand slam matchups (Nadal won 10).
Nadal came out on top in their classic 2008 Wimbledon final, considered by some the greatest match in history; Federer won their last showdown, in the 2019 semi-finals at the All England Club.
"It could be quite, I don't know, a unique situation, if it were to happen," Federer said Thursday about the doubles pairing, before it was known for sure that he would be partnered with Nadal.
"For us, as well, to go through a career that we both have had and to come out on the other side and being able to have a nice relationship, I think, is maybe a great message, as well, to not just tennis but sports and maybe even beyond."
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