22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has said that he wished ‘this day would have never come’ on the retirement announcement by his ‘friend and rival’ Roger Federer.
Reacting to Federer’s decision to retire from professional tennis after this month’s Laver Cup in England, Nadal said, “Dear Roger, my friend and rival. 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 honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”
Nadal, who faced Federer on multiple occasions, enjoyed good camaraderie with the Swiss. The Spaniard added, “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.”
Dear Roger,my friend and rival.
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 honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court 👇🏻
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 15, 2022
Federer on Thursday announced that Laver Cup would be his last professional engagement. 41-year-old Federer has not played since Wimbledon last year when he lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals. He had to undergo a third knee operation after the 2021 Wimbledon Grand Slam event. This was two knee operations that he had in 2020.
He said in his long statement, “As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.
“The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in grand slams or on the tour.”
Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles with only Rafel Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) having won more Grand Slam titles than him.