Jack Sock has said that he will be 'forever grateful' for being a part of 'GOAT' Roger Federer's final match on Friday night.
Federer - widely regarded as one of the finest players in the sport's history - announced his retirement from the sport last week, having not played since Wimbledon last year due to injury.
The 41-year-old turned up with his arch-rival and good friend Rafael Nadal against Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the fourth match of the first day of the Laver Cup in London. With Team Europe leading 2-1, Federer and Nadal started brightly, taking the opening net. The legendary pair came within two points of victory in the second set before Sock and Tiafoe leveled proceedings by taking the set on a tiebreak.
In the ensuing match tiebreak, Federer and Nadal squandered a 3-0 lead and then a match point on Federer's serve at 9-8 as a 'perfect' ending was not to be. Nevertheless, the result was almost secondary as the tennis world cried with Federer on an emotional night at the O2.
Sock said as much at his post-match press conference. He had no qualms playing in front of a partisan crowd as he expressed his pride to be a part of a 'competitive' match with emotional undertones.
"It's tough, I think, said Sock. "While playing, it felt like a match. Settled in while we were all bawling our eyes out there afterwards, but during the match, felt like a competitive match.
"Foe and I played him together for the first time, trying to bring crazy energy. Obviously had 99.9% of the crowd against us. But it was super fun to just be a part of that match. I think we are going to be forever grateful to be a part of the GOAT's final match," he added.
Tiafoe concurred with Jack Sock and spoke about the atmosphere at the O2 Arena.
"Man, his last match. Every point they win, the crowd erupts. Any time they had the Jumbotron, his face came up, they erupted."
Meanwhile, Roger Federer bowed out with a defeat in his last doubles match after starting his career with a loss as well - with Ivo Hueberger against Yevgeniy Kafelnikov and Daniel Vacek in the first round at Basel in 1998. He ends his doubles career with 131 wins and 93 losses after going 1251-275 in singles.
"When I hit that last shot and realised it was over, it was, like, kind of went numb" - Jack Sock on Roger Federer
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal almost produced the perfect ending, but Jack Sock had other ideas.
After surviving multiple break points to hold serve late in the second set, Federer and Nadal came within two points of victory. Tiafoe's net shot dropped well into the service box to avert match point.
Fast forward to the match tiebreak, Federer had the opportunity to close out victory on serve, but the opportunity went begging as Team World arrived on match point on serve. A rally ensued before Sock drilled a forehand winner down the line to call time on Federer's career.
Sock said that he felt 'numb' after he hit the last shot.
"I don't think it settled in until after. When I hit that last shot, and realised it was over, it was, like, kind of went numb," he said.
Interestingly, Roger Federer also started his singles career - 1998 Bastad against Lucas Arnold Ker with a defeat. The 20-time Grand Slam winner lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinals in what turned out to be the final match of his illustrious career.
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