"My last match, doubles with Rafael Nadal" - Roger Federer reacts to Laver Cup Day 1 line-up

Laver Cup 2019 - Preview Day 4
Roger Federer will play his last match with Rafael Nadal

The retiring Roger Federer is set to play the last match of his illustrious career with his arch-rival and good friend Rafael Nadal on Friday at the O2 in London. Federer and Nadal are set to play the doubles match on the first day of the 2022 Laver Cup against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

Federer, widely regarded as one of the finest players in the sport's history, announced his retirement from the sport last week. He has been out of action since Wimbledon last year and has faced multiple setbacks in his quest to return to the court.

With 20 Grand Slam titles, six ATP Finals, 28 Masters 1000s and a staggering 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1, Federer has a legacy that goes beyond numbers. However, the 41-year-old has realised that he has run his course.

Federer responded to the Laver Cup's announcement of their first day schedule that he's set to play the last match of his career, albeit in doubles. He tweeted:

"Tomorrow night. My last match. Doubles with Rafael Nadal."
Tomorrow night. My last match. Doubles with @RafaelNadal πŸ’ͺ🏽❀️…

With Federer's announcement, it's clear that he has already played his last singles match - against Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year - which he lost in straight sets. The third set in that match marked the only time in 221 matches on grass (192-29) that Federer got bagelled.

The 41-year-old retires with a stellar singles record of 1251 wins and 275 losses, yielding 103 titles. Only Jimmy Connors has won more singles matches (1274) and singles titles (109) than Federer.

What happened the last time Roger Federer played doubles with Rafael Nadal?

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2017 Laver Cup
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2017 Laver Cup

Five years ago, Roger Federer and Rafel Nadal - then ranked two and one respectively in singles - combined to beat Jack Sock and Sam Querrey in a supertiebreak in the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup in Prague.

The legendary duo beat the American pair 6-4, 1-6 [10-5] in a supertiebreak on the second day of action to give Team Europe a commanding 9-3 lead. Earlier in the day, Federer had beaten Querrey in singles, while Nadal got past Sock in a supertiebreak.

Having played 40 singles matches against the other - with Nadal leading 24-16 - the two stars featured on the same side of a tennis court for the first time. Following their win, Federer had remarked:

"I could get used to playing on the same side of the net as Rafael Nadal."
I could get used to playing on the same side of the net as @RafaelNadal πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ‘ŠπŸ»πŸ‘―β€β™‚οΈπŸ•ΊπŸ½πŸŽ―πŸ”₯

Since that match, Roger Federer has gone 1-3 in doubles - all at the Laver Cup - with Jack Sock a constant in all four contests. One of those matches was with his other arch-rival Novak Djokovic, which he lost against Sock and Kevin Anderson in a supertiebreak.

Federer's only win in this period came with Alexander Zverev against Sock and John Isner in a supertiebreak in 2019. Meanwhile, Nadal is on a six-match winning streak in doubles - going 6-1 - since his doubles match with Federer five years ago. Federer holds a 131-92 career doubles record, while Nadal is 138-74.

Roger Federer will hope to rediscover the same kind of chemistry he showed with Nadal five years ago one last time on Friday before he wades off into the sunset.

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello spotted with infant son. click here for pictures.

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Edited by Bhargav
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