In the eyes of Rafael Nadal we could admire the humanity, the sincerity. Respect for a friend, before a rival. The rival. The Spanish champion melted after Federer's farewell match. An emotional and moving moment, which once again redefines the greatness of the Spanish champion.
That he probably would have wanted to give the 20-time Slam champion one last cheer. "Let's just say the first serve didn't work very well," he explained during the press conference. "Overall I think it was a very difficult game.
I also started with a double fault. I felt the pressure, I was tense and excited. In the end, the atmosphere became incredibly emotional. It was a great honor for me to be able to participate in this event. With Federer's retirement, a part of me is gone.
Seeing his family in the stands was an incredible emotion." Nadal, clearly out of shape and with his head elsewhere, nonetheless recounted the emotions of a surreal and probably unrepeatable day. "With Roger it has been a long and positive journey.
We started when I joined the Tour and when he was the best and was always there. Suddenly we became rivals. We respect each other a lot, our families love each other, as our relationship has grown it has improved day to day. We realized that we had a lot in common, although we were always very different on the court.
This has made our rivalry so special." From enemies, at least on the pitch, to friends. "In personal and family life we have probably always been very similar."
Rafa on the journey since the French Open
Rafael Nadal has revealed that he 'almost retired' from professional tennis after winning a record-extending 14th French Open title a few months ago.
"Obviously on the track and a bit this with this festive tone. I do not know. I'm not at that point yet. I was close this year, I'm not going to lie to you. During Roland Garros I thought that it could be my last tournament," Nadal told Spanish media outlet AS.
"But at that moment, although from then on everything has gone very wrong for physical reasons. The foot on a physical level has been a disaster. I busted my abs at Wimbledon, then again in New York, a host of major misfortunes, added to all these personal things. But I don't really feel (like retiring) at that moment nor do I want to think about it," he added.