Rafael Nadal, who arrived in London on Thursday to take part in the Laver Cup, introduced Roger Federer, welcoming him on stage at a pre-tournament dinner gala. Nadal described Federer as “a great friend” and an inspiration to everyone who loves the sport.
“Probably one of the most iconic athletes in the history. If we talk about perfection on the tennis court, it’s him. An amazing inspiration for everyone who loves sport and in a personal way, a great friend. Somebody that I look (up at) to improve in every single way,” Nadal said. “This weekend is probably going to be probably one of the toughest moments.”
“Mr Roger Federer had to say goodbye but let’s enjoy this moment, let’s celebrate. He had an amazing career,” he added.
Watch the video here:
Rafa’s intro for Roger at the Laver Cup Gala ???????
? Fedal Tennis TV YT pic.twitter.com/gn1AfpcWIr
— Olly ??? (@Olly_Tennis_) September 22, 2022
Roger Federer will be playing his final ATP Tour match on Friday in Laver Cup 2022. And for the umpteenth time in his illustrious career spanning over two decades, he will be teaming up with his long-time tennis rival and friend Rafael Nadal. Owner of 20 Grand Slam titles Federer and owner of a men’s-record 22 major championships Nadal will pair up for Team Europe against the Team World duo of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.
Nadal and Federer have met 40 times over the course of their careers including nine grand slam finals and also played together at the 2017 Laver Cup.
“For as long as we battled together, having always had this respect for one another — our families, our coaching teams — we always got along really well,” Federer told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of playing alongside the Spaniard.
“To go through the careers that we both have had, to come out the other side and being able to have a nice relationship, I think, is maybe a great message as well — to not just tennis, but sports beyond it. For that reason, I think it would be great. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment,” he added.
Nadal told a press conference on Thursday that he was “super excited” for Friday’s doubles match.
“After all the amazing things that we share together on and off court, [to] be part of this historic moment, going to be something yeah, amazing and unforgettable for me,” Nadal said, “and yeah, super excited, I hope I can have a good answer time, play at a decent level and hopefully together we can create a good moment and maybe win a match.”
Federer and Nadal will face American pair Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe on the first day of the Laver Cup on Friday.