Rafael Nadal's Laver Cup Odyssey Echoes Roger Federer's Farewell

Rafael Nadal will compete in Berlin in September

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal's Laver Cup Odyssey Echoes Roger Federer's Farewell
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal will embark on his fourth Laver Cup campaign in Berlin between September 20 and 22, hoping to lift another trophy with Team Europe. Rafa has always loved competing at this event, feeling the vibes of the team event, and remembering his most recent appearance.

Nadal traveled to London in 2022 despite an injury, embracing a special mission and competing alongside Roger Federer in the final career match for the Swiss! Rafa dealt with an abdominal issue, but nothing could stop him from honoring his great rival on a historic emotional night at O2 Arena.

Rafa and Roger joined forces for the second time in their careers, previously playing at the Laver Cup in Prague five years earlier.

Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal, Laver Cup 2022© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Two legends met the American duo Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock and wasted a match point in a 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 loss after two hours and 13 minutes.

The veterans did their best to emerge at the top on a historic night, standing two points away from the finish line in the second set before squandering an early advantage and a match point in a match tie break. All four players served well in the early stages, locking the result at 4-4.

Rafa netted a backhand on serve in the ninth game and faced a break point, the first of the match. Roger stepped in and saved it with a smash winner before holding with another direct point for 5-4. The veterans erased a 40-15 deficit in the tenth game and created a set point after Federer's crafty volley winner at the net.

Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer, Laver Cup 2022© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal played alongside Roger Federer at the 2022 Laver Cup in London.

Sock made an error, handing the opener to Team Europe 6-4 after 42 minutes.

The Americans broke Nadal in the third game of the second set and denied three break points in the next one, opening a 3-1 advantage. Team Europe bounced back in game six, securing a break at 15 and locking the result at 3-3.

They served well in the upcoming games, and Jack landed a smash winner at 4-5 to bring the game home and prolong the battle. Nadal played a loose service game at 5-5 and faced six break points! He and Roger denied them, and the Spaniard brought the game home with a service winner, producing a massive hold.

The legends stood two points from the finish line on the return at 6-5 before Sock held and introduced a tie break.

Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer, Laver Cup 2022© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Sock and Tiafoe led 4-2 when Federer placed a forehand long, extending the gap and moving closer to the set.

Frances drew Roger's error at 6-2, wrapping up the tie break in style and introducing a deciding match tie break. Nadal played well in the opening three points, sending his team in front. Team World stayed composed, taking four straight points and opening a 4-3 gap after an incredible point and Jack's winner.

Rafa and Roger landed winners in the tenth and 14th points before Frances sprayed a backhand error at 8-8, offering two legends a match point. The Americans saved it and earned their match point at 9-9 after Tiafoe's return winner, knocking Nadal to the ground.

Sock sealed the deal for Team World with a forehand down the line winner at 10-9, sending Federer into retirement. "I'm thrilled to play the Laver Cup in Berlin. I would love to help Team Europe return the trophy. I'm carrying special memories from this competition, especially from London two years ago when I played alongside Roger in his last match. At this stage of my career, I want to make the most of every opportunity given," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Laver Cup Roger Federer