Roger Federer in never-before-seen tennis moment: 'Iconic'

·6-min read
Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic (pictured left) pose for a photo and (pictured right) play a doubles match at Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic enjoyed a hit at the Laver Cup in a rare tennis moment ahead of the Laver Cup. (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

The tennis world has erupted after Roger Federer has taken to the court with his three biggest rivals ahead of his farewell match at the Laver Cup.

Federer and Team Europe announced that the 20-time grand slam champion would team up with Rafa Nadal for his final ever competitive match.

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While excitement for Federer's final ever tournament has ramped up, many were awaiting Nadal's arrival in London to complete the 'Big Four' along with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Nadal was back in Spain receiving the 'Camino Real Award' from King Felipe VI at the University of Alcala on Tuesday.

And for the first time ever at the Laver Cup, and the last time, Nadal arrived in London to greet Federer and the rest of Team Europe.

Then, in a tennis first for the crowd, Nadal and Federer teamed up in a practice session against Murray and Djokovic in front of a raucous 02 Arena.

Fans were in meltdown as the four tennis legends - who have a combined 66 singles grand slam titles - enjoyed a hit to prepare for the Laver Cup.

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nada and Andy Murray shake hands after a practice session.
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nada and Andy Murray had a practice doubles match ahead of the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The tennis world was in awe having been granted a glimpse of the longtime rivals sharing a laugh in a moment that will resonate with fans for years to come.

But in another moment, which has sent the tennis world into a spin, Federer posted a selfie of the four heading to the Gala dinner.

In what will be the last time the four play at the same tournament together, the tennis world erupted over the nostalgic moment ahead of Federer's retirement.

Former players such as Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters all praised the photos that mark the end of Federer's career.

Djokovic added that it was a unique experience sharing the court as teammates with his longtime rivals.

Roger Federer on Rafa Nadal doubles match

The 41-year-old Federer is retiring after the Laver Cup following a series of operations on his right knee.

He hasn't competed 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.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic share a laugh as they pose for a photo.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take a photo on the Thames ahead of the Laver Cup. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

Before his final ever match, Federer admitted he was a little nervous to be playing with Nadal.

"I'm not sure if I can handle it all, but I'll try," the 20-time grand slam champ said at the press conference.

"Sitting here," Federer said at Thursday's news conference, with Nadal, who is 36, to his left, and Djokovic and Murray, both 35, a couple of seats down to his right, "it feels good that I go first from the guys. It feels right."

Nadal also admitted that tomorrow marked a special occasion for him as he says goodbye to a longtime friend on the tour.

"I saw him playing on TV before I arrived on tour. I saw him having success on TV, and then (we were) able to create an amazing rivalry together. And on the other hand, something that probably we are very proud of is having a friendly rivalry," Nadal said.

Roger Federer (pictured right) and Rafael Nadal (pictured left) share a laugh during a doubles session.
Roger Federer (pictured right) and Rafael Nadal (pictured left) will team up at the Laver Cup. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

"Tomorrow is going to be a special thing. Difficult. Going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. But for me, too. At the end, one of the most important players - if not the most important player - in my tennis career is leaving."

Before it was officially announced the duo would play doubles, Federer added the pair share a unique friendship in the sport.

"It could be quite, I don't know, a unique situation, if it were to happen," Federer said.

"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."

with AAP

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