Rafael Nadal said he always respected Roger Federer and considered him as "the guy to beat." Nadal, 36, teamed up with Federer in the Swiss' final match. On Friday, Nadal and Federer played doubles together at the Laver Cup.
Earlier this week, Federer expressed desire to play doubles with Nadal in his final match. As expected, Nadal granted Federer's wish and teamed up with the Swiss in his final match. It was a memorable night not only for Federer, but for the entire tennis world.
Nadal on his relationship with Federer
"Roger was always there in front of me," Nadal said, per Eurosport. "For me, he was always the guy to beat. So at some point, we were probably the biggest rivals - I think always in a very good way.
We have never had any big issues and always respected each other and our families too. But our personal relationship has got better and better over the years, and we approach life in a similar way. On court, we have completely opposite styles, and that's what probably makes our matches and our rivalry so big and interesting.
I’m very proud to be part of his career in some way, but even happier to finish our career [rivalry] like friends after everything we shared on court as rivals”. Unfortunately for Nadal and Federer, they didn't get a win on Friday.
On Friday, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe defeated Nadal and Federer 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9. It was the second time that Nadal and Federer played together. In 2017 - during the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup in Prague - Nadal and Federer defeated Sock and Sam Querrey.
This time, Nadal and Federer ended on the losing side. Still, it was a memorable night as Federer enjoyed a great send off. During Federer's speech, Nadal got very emotional and broke down in tears.