Adriano Panatta's statements after the doubles match in which Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lost to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the Laver Cup have given a lot to talk about. The former Italian tennis player accused the American duo of going too far in their quest for victory.
"I found it disgusting, vulgar and cowardly that those two Americans pulled their hair out in the face of Federer and Nadal. They only do it because they are not capable of doing anything else. They don't know what tennis is at all.
They can't even understand it," Panatta commented. "They are tennis troglodytes, but above all two villains against two champions of the caliber and education of Federer and Nadal. I thought: God, why don't you give me a chance to get on the court? like when I was 25? Panatta spoke again about Federer's withdrawal at the "Banca Generali - Un Campione per Amico" event held in Piazza del Popolo.
"I don't know if there will be another like him, maybe I won't see him. He is inimitable, he has expressed beauty, class, extraordinary elegance on the court: a great example for young people" Panatta explained in words collected by the news agency ANSA: "Going out with Rafael Nadal? It was nice to see them holding hands.
It's nice to see two champions who have fought for so many years against each other being really friends"
Federer pays tribute to Nadal
Roger Federer recently expressed gratitude to his friend and long-time rival Rafael Nadal for his presence next to him in the final moments of his professional playing career.
"I called him after the U.S. 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," he said. Federer said that their rivalry and friendship are proof that players can be both super competitive and have a great relationship.
"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," Federer said.