Roger Federer has thanked fans and fellow players for providing him with a “magical” send-off at the end of his glittering professional career on Friday.
The 20-time grand slam champion brought the curtain down on his incredible career in a doubles match alongside Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London, facing off against American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Although Federer and Nadal fell to a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 11-9 loss, the Swiss maestro was given a hero’s reception at the O2 Arena, and old rival Nadal joined him in shedding a tear after the match.
Immediately afterwards, Federer joked he was simply glad to have avoided injury and described his career as a “perfect journey”.
Federer then expressed his appreciation for everyone involved on Saturday, writing on Twitter: “It was a magical evening yesterday.
“Thank you again to all the players and fans who were here to share this moment with me. It means the world.”
Speaking at a news conference after his send-off, Federer described it as “all happiness”.
“The match, yes, in itself, sure, is special,” he said. “But it’s really everything that happened after, because I wasn’t aware who was going to come to sing, what was going to happen, where I should go, what was expected of me, or how long it was going to go.
“Then I guess looking around and seeing how everybody got emotional, obviously it’s even better, or even worse, I’m not sure what to say.
“The last two days have been tough to say the least. Thankfully, in moments, I totally forgot about it, slept great, everything was wonderful, I could enjoy it.
“Because of that, I think I will be able to have a better recollection of how it went, because if it’s all just stress throughout and I want it to be only perfect, I know I will remember half of it.
“I didn’t have fireworks in my head where I see my career flashing by, all the things I’m going to miss. It was hard for me making phone calls, letting people know that this decision is happening. There I felt pain, but now, tonight was all happiness.”
Meanwhile, Federer has refused to rule out taking part in exhibition matches in the future, stating his desire to allow more of his fans to see him in action one last time.
“The message from me was just making sure I relay my passion for the sport to the fans, and I let them know that hopefully we’ll see each other again on a different type of tennis court,” he added.
“I have no plans whatsoever, where, how, when. All I know [is] I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank you for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me.
“Because the hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. The people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it.
“Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”