Roger Federer has quit tennis. The tennis world loses a legend, not a rivalry with international appeal. Novak Djokovic knows this well: “Rafael Nadal will continue to be my number one rival. On the other hand, the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry has been a glorious chapter for 16 years, since that first clash in France in 2006 when Rafa reached the quarter-finals.
Final in straight sets as Serbian player retired. Since then a total of 59 duels, 30 in favor of Djokovic, nine Slam finals. For Nadal, three wins in the last four challenges: the 2020 Roland Garros final, the 2021 Rome final and the 2022 French quarterfinals.
For Nole, to say the least, in the midst of a contentious 2022, the smile in last year’s semifinals on French soil. And then there’s the relationship. Novak was a guest, albeit a luxury guest, at Roger Federer’s farewell party.
An emotional moment in which the Swiss wanted to live hand in hand with the Mallorcan, let alone for commercial reasons. Rafa has not been affectionate with Nole in the past since he was at the height of the vaccination controversy ahead of the Australian Open: ‘No one can ask for another and we are all free but the truth is that when you are part of a circuit, you have to You may comply with the rules required for this circuit.
So if the Tour requires players to get vaccinated to keep everyone safe, Djokovic needs to get vaccinated if he wants to continue playing tennis at the highest level. I mean him, but everyone, including me.”
Roger Federer recalled the days when Rafael Nadal first hit the tour as a teenager. “I remember when he came on tour as a kid he was quite shy, very flamboyant and outgoing on the court, but off the court he was very shy.
He struggled to make eye contact,” said Roger Federer. “Over time, he became a very strong personality, also more confident and forged his own path, which I was pleased to see.”
Nadal on Roger Federer’s resignation
During the interview, Rafael Nadal further elaborated on Roger Federer’s retirement from the Laver Cup, stating that he has no choice but to embrace the sadness that comes with one of tennis’ greatest icons having left the sport.
“One of the greatest icons in the history of sport is leaving. And ultimately you experience it with sadness, too,” he said. “I said it the other day, in the end it leaves someone who has entertained, moved and inspired many people around the world and in a way I am one of them too.”