Roger Federer says he will "never forget" Rafael Nadal's efforts to fulfill his final tennis wish. Shortly after Nadal finished his US Open run, Federer called him to inform him about his decision to retire from professional tennis at the Laver Cup.
During the conversation, Federer told Nadal he would love to retire by playing doubles with him in his final tournament. Nadal, whose pregnant wife was admitted to hospital while he was in the United States, went to the Laver Cup just one day before the start of the event and teamed up with Federer last Friday.
The following morning, Nadal flew back to Spain to be with his pregnant family. "I called him after the US Open — I waited for him to finish that tournament — just to let him know about my retirement. And I just wanted to let him know before he started making some plans without the Laver Cup at all.
Rafa told me, 'I will try everything I possibly can to be there with you.' And that felt obviously incredible for me," Federer told The New York Times.
Federer: I'll never forget what Nadal did for me in London
After their match was over, Nadal broke down in tears as it was hard for him to watch Federer's career come to an end.
"It showed again how much we mean to one another and how much respect we have. And I just thought it would be just a beautiful, amazing story for us, for sports, for tennis, and maybe beyond that as well, where we can coexist in a tough rivalry and come out on top and show that, hey, again it’s just tennis.
Yes, it’s hard, and it’s brutal sometimes, but it’s always fair. And you can come out on the other side and still have this great, friendly rivalry. I just thought it ended up even better than I ever thought it would.
So, an incredible effort by Rafa, and I’ll obviously never forget what he did for me in London," Federer added.