Roger Federer gets real on viral photo of him crying together while holding hands

Federer reflects on a viral moment with Nadal from the 2022 Laver Cup.

by Dzevad Mesic
Roger Federer gets real on viral photo of him crying together while holding hands
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Roger Federer reveals he has framed a picture of himself and Rafael Nadal crying while holding hands at the Laver Cup and admits he remembers the moment every time he passes by the picture in his house. 

When Federer announced his plans to have his farewell at the 2022 Laver Cup in late September, no one exactly knew how it was going to look since the Swiss hadn't played any matches since 2022 Wimbledon due to his knee issues. Then, Federer shared that he was hoping to retire by playing one doubles match with his biggest rival, Nadal. 

To no one's surprise, Nadal easily accepted the invitation and that's how Federer and the Spaniard took on Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at The O2 Arena in London. After Sock and Tiafoe edged out Federer and Nadal 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 and the Swiss tennis icon's career officially finished, the former 20-time Grand Slam champion became visibly very emotional. 

At one point, Nadal sat next to Federer and he also got emotional watching the Swiss cry. That's when both Federer and Nadal were pictured crying together while holding hands.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Federer asked what does the viral picture of him and Nadal mean to him 

Reflecting on the viral moments, Federer suggested it was a great end to one outstanding story and a testatement to how much they respected one another. 

“I don't know, maybe I should ask Rafa that, but it's probably more important to me than to him. I have it at home, framed, in a space where I have several images of my career; I don't want photos everywhere, that's why I have them in a specific area. And when I pass by it, it always catches my attention because it reflects our camaraderie, our friendship and also the rivalry, all in one single image," Federer told El Pais.

"In that instant Ellie Goulding was singing and it's a moment in which we are both able to reflect on all we just experienced, remembering our career and how lucky we have been to be tennis players, to have been able to turn our hobby into a dream job. That's what this photo stands for to me. It was a great moment, short; take his hand for a second and, basically, show him my gratitude through that touch.”

Federer on why retiring from tennis felt a little bit like 'a funeral'

Federer, who started his career in 1998, spent 24 years in pro tennis and left a golden mark on it. When Federer sustained a meniscus injury in 2016, he was 35 at the time and the fear was that his career was over. But the Swiss tennis legend made an impressive comeback, winning three Grand Slam titles between 2017 January and 2018 January. 

When another knee injury happened in early 2020 and Federer had two knee surgeries in six months, he still wasn't giving up on his tennis career. Then just after returning, Federer's knee started causing him trouble again and he ended up having another surgery after 2021 Wimbledon. 

Still, Federer didn't quit and he was working on returning to tennis at the age of 40. While no one ever questioned Federer's passion for tennis, that showed how much he loved tennis and how important it was to him. 

And after he wasn't able to return for one last time and his career came to an end, Federer felt it was "a tennis funeral of his career."

"Look, it's an incredible feeling, like you're at a kind of funeral of your own life. It's a very strange feeling, to be honest. You are completely alert and experience a great slow-motion blur of everything that is happening. Therefore, watching the documentary is like therapy;" Federer explained.

"In fact, it's very hard for me to see it because I know what I felt then, and you go through it again. So what Severin says may sound strong, but athletes who have not yet retired don't know what it really means. It's like an operation: you only know what it feels like once you've gone through it. I never would have thought that the ending would be so full of experiences."

Roger Federer
Roger Federer © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Federer may be retired but he still occasionally hits some balls.

"I'm missing tennis, of course I am. but I still play sometimes, not on the center court, but I follow a lot. I miss it that's why I sometimes come back to the game to see my friends and my extended tennis family. I will be in the Wimbledon village so try to spot me there," Federer said last week on Instagram Live.

Roger Federer Laver Cup