Adored by some, respected by all, Roger Federer drew a line, Saturday, on nearly 25 years of an exceptional career in tennis by bowing to the Laver Cup, in London, during a farewell ball in doubles with his biggest rival, Rafael Nadal. They were beaten by the American pair consisting of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe. The debate over the best player in history is endless, but by his record, his brilliant game, his elegance and his charisma, Roger Federer will go down in history as the undisputed master of world tennis. Saturday, September 24, in front of a full house, playing his last doubles match associated with Rafael Nadal. The pair lost to Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the Laver Cup, London. Since announcing his retirement, ‘Pistol’ Pete (Sampras), the Las Vegas Kid (Andre Agassi), the Taurus of Manacor (Rafael Nadal), all bowed to the master. “Hi Roger, this is Pistol (…) When we faced each other for the first time, you were only 19 years old (…) We fought a big battle on the Center court of Wimbledon and you had beaten me in five sets”, recalled Sampras, whose public appearances are extremely rare since leaving the circuit in 2002, but who split a video on social networks to greet the departure at the retirement of the Swiss. “Your game and your spirit taught us how beautiful the game of tennis could be (…) Thank you RF”, complimented Agassi. Your game and spirit taught us how beautiful tennis can be played, @RogerFederer. Every moment you shared has left us all better off. Thank you, RF 🙏🏼— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) September 16, 2022 “He’s one of, if not the most important player in my career,” claimed Nadal, record holder of Grand Slam titles (22), before playing in doubles alongside him in the last match of the Swiss whose counter will remain blocked at 20 Majors, also exceeded by Novak Djokovic (21). But in hearts, he will remain almost everywhere the number one. At Wimbledon, his favorite playground where he won eight times, at Roland-Garros where the public was relieved to see him complete his collection of Grand Slams in 2009, and in all the tournaments where his fans supported him unconditionally. . Federer had all the attributes of the ideal champion. And above all a game like no other, aesthetic, offensive, exciting. “There are people who have followed tennis without liking tennis, to watch Federer”, noted the former Swiss number 1 Marc Rosset. opposition of style with Rafael Nadal has made their rivalry a legend, coupled with a friendship that has never wavered.”Perfect”, according to Nadal”He has a perfect serve, a perfect volley, a more than perfect forehand , a perfect (one-handed) backhand; he is very fast, everything is perfect at home”, summed up Nadal. Outside the courts, the Swiss is also a kind of ideal son-in-law: in love for more than twenty years with the same wife, Mirka Vavrinec, a former tennis player of Slovak origin whom he met at the Sydney Games in 2000, caring father of four children (twins and twins), engaged in charitable work, particularly in South Africa South, the country of origin of his mother, the friend of Tiger Woods is almost unanimous. Even among those he has mart yrized on the court. “I would like to hate you, but you are too nice,” Roddick told him after a Wimbledon final. The Swiss has always liked “to give the image of a good person”, including by taking care of his communication during interminable interview sessions given without hesitation in the four languages he masters (Swiss German, English, French, German). His track record is gigantic. To the Grand Slam titles must be added six Masters, a Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal (in doubles with Stan Wawrinka), the singles gold remaining the only important trophy that he lacks. In total, he won 103 titles on the ATP circuit and spent 310 weeks in first place in the world, a record that Djokovic has since spectacularly increased to 373. Admittedly, the talent was detected early in this boy born in Basel in 1981. But this “rough diamond to polish”, in his own words, had to repress a dilettante side and a tendency to swing his racket when things didn’t turn out his way. Late maturity For this reason, he had to wait until his sixth year on the circuit to lift his first major trophy, on the grass of Wimbledon in 2003, at almost 23 years old. out of a possible 16 – from 2004 to 2007. The competition of then, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick in the first row, is crushed. will enrich with matches ep ics, like the two Wimbledon finals of 2007 (won) and 2008 (lost) against the Spaniard. On the decline (temporarily) from 2011, he signed a breathtaking return to the fore in 2017 and 2018 and added to his collection three Grand Slam titles to finish with eight Wimbledon, six Australian Open, five US Open and a Roland-Garros. With an apparently ordinary physique (1.85 m) but endowed with exceptional qualities of speed and endurance, he had the advantage of being almost never injured until he was over 35 years old. He underwent his first operation, on a knee, in 2016, after hurting himself… while bathing his daughters. Inhabited by an inexhaustible thirst for victories, he approached longevity records – his last Australian Open title had made him the second-oldest winner of a Grand Slam tournament behind Ken Rosewall – when his recalcitrant knee ended his fabulous run, aged 41, after more than 1,500 matches over more than 24 years. With AFP
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