Paired with the eternal friend-rival Rafa Nadal, in the midst of his usual opponents, amid tears of emotion and thunderous applause of gratitude: Roger Federer’s last performance was staged this evening at the O2 Arena in London. The final act of his tennis adventure ended with the long and intense embrace of the 20 thousand present in the Greenwich building, which created an atmosphere of intense participation for the departure of the Basel master. The well-deserved tribute to the Swiss champion, who leaves competitive tennis after over 1200 matches won, 103 ATP titles, 20 Grand Slams including eight times Wimbledon. And again the Olympic gold in doubles at the Beijing Games, the Davis Cup won in Lille in 2014. The extraordinary palmares of a player out of the ordinary, for talent, grace and elegance. As in recent days he has been recognized several times by those who are now his former opponents.
In the London building, for his leave from tennis, there was not a single free seat: sold out, with the last tickets literally snapped up, at exorbitant prices, which reached eight thousand euros. The collective excitement in the stands was the reflection of the media attention for his last official match, in the context of an event that still remains an exhibition, albeit in a prestigious setting which is now the annual challenge among the best. European tennis players against the Rest of the World. In the stands also hundreds of journalists, coming from every corner of the planet, accredited for a match, broadcast live on TV substantially all over the world.
Confirming Federer’s global interest in “the last dance”. The protagonist in London of a real celebration, festive as he wanted it to be, but also full of transport, between shining eyes and strangled tears. And the inevitable rhythmic chorus “” Let’s go, Roger, let’s go! “. Right from his entry into the field, cheered loudly by his fans. An exciting epilogue, preceded by an unscheduled match in the afternoon: during the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman, a young activist – after breaking into the camp – tried to set himself on fire, while showing a sign against the use of private jets. The immediate intervention of the security men, and the health workers, averted the worst : the man was promptly medicated and escorted off the pitch.After a few minutes of interruption, the match was regularly resumed.A parenthesis in a day entirely dedicated to Federer’s farewell, and to his poignant farewell to tennis. The farewell of the master of masters.
“It is special to be able to play with Rafa once again. I’m sure it will be wonderful” Federer said. A week ago the champion announced his retirement from tennis at the end of the competition that will see Europe and the World opposing. Nadal and Federer have already played doubles in Laver Cup in the first edition of 2017, when they beat Americans Querrey and Sock.
– Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 22, 2022