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farewell apotenosis next to Rafa Nadal

BarcelonaThe organizers of the tennis Laver Cup put the price of tickets up to 430 euros when it was confirmed that Roger Federer would participate in this tournament that pits a European team against one from the rest of the world. But the prices, which might seem high, ended up being a bargain for those who had purchased the ticket in advance. And so, as Federer announced that it would be his last match as a professional, ticket prices skyrocketed with incredible speed. On Thursday some were sold for 25,000 euros and on Friday the last ones were sold for 50,000.

Federer was putting an end to his love affair with tennis, where he has become one of the best players of all time. In fact, if it weren’t for the irruption of Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the Swiss tennis player would have secured the crown. The three of them, together with Andy Murray, the only tennis player capable of overshadowing them in the last two decades, were the great appeal of this tournament that has been organized for five years, which does not award points in the ranking ATP although it is considered professional because the victories of the participants are counted.

Federer’s last dance, in London

The expectation to see Federer was maximum. And more in London, where the Swiss had his idyll with tennis: Wimbledon was his favorite Grand Slam, which he won up to eight times, the last in 2018. In fact, the All England Club it had also been the scene of his – until this Friday – last match as a professional, where he fell in the quarter-finals in 2021. The physical problems of the Swiss, who turned 41 this August, gradually kept him away from the tracks until on September 15 he issued a statement in which he announced that he had had enough. He would say goodbye to the his Laver Cup – the tournament is organized by TEAM8, the representation agency that Federer himself jointly runs with his lifelong agent, Tony Godsick – and would do so in a single doubles match. He explained that his body was not good enough to withstand more duels at the highest level.

The stands at London’s O2 Arena were too small to watch Federer’s last dance. I was called for the night shift, which started at 8 with the presentation of the participants. The ovation for the idol was huge, and this was still a long time before he started his duel. His colleagues also applauded him. Shortly after, he retired to the warm-up area, where he would prepare for the match with Rafa Nadal. “I’ve done this thousands of times, but this one is very special. Thanks to everyone for coming,” Federer said via his Twitter account.

Federer says goodbye playing a doubles match with Rafa Nadal

Federer had the farewell he wanted and where he wanted. The tennis player asked to play doubles with Rafa Nadal, that player who had made him cry in Paris, in the Roland Garros arena, that Grand Slam that he resisted – always against the manacorí – until he ended up winning the 2009. In total, Federer ends his career with 20 major titles, surpassed only in the men’s draw by Christmas. To the eight Wimbledon victories and the Paris title were added six victories in Australia and five in the United States.

That career that began in 1998 and that on January 29, 2001 won his first ATP tournament is far from over. Twenty-four years as a professional, 310 weeks as number 1 in the ranking, 103 titles, two Olympic medals and more than 1,250 victories, in addition to earnings – just in prizes – that exceed 130 million euros. A legend like Federer could only have an apotheoic farewell.

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