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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Nadal, Serena pay tribute to Federer

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New Delhi: Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams paid tribute to Swiss legend Roger Federer following his retirement announcement.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner and Swiss legend on Thursday announced a decision to end hsi historic tennis career saying that next week’s Laver Cup will be his final ATP event.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner, Nadal, wrote a letter to his “friend and rival” on social media. Federer and Nadal created one of the most iconic rivalries in all of sports.

“I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court,” Nadal wrote on Twitter.

“We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that.

“For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London at Laver Cup.”

Federer and Nadal played each other 40 times in their ATP Head2Head series, with 24 of those matches coming in finals. All but four of their clashes came in the semi-finals or final of a tournament, or at the Nitto ATP Finals.

The pair first met on court in 2004 in the third round in Miami. Their most recent battle came in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals. Both men will compete for Team Europe at next week’s Laver Cup, Federer’s final ATP event.

WTA legend and 23- time Slam champion Serena Williams, who in August announced she was “evolving away from tennis”, shared a message for Federer on Thursday.

“I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career. I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget,” Williams wrote on Instagram.

“I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer.”

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