Roger Federer's emotional goodbye to professional tennis also had rival Rafael Nadal in tears

Roger Federer's emotional goodbye to professional tennis also had rival Rafael Nadal in tears
Roger Federer in tears as he says goodbye to tennis
Laver Cup

Roger Federer bid farewell to professional tennis after playing his final competitive match to mark the end of his illustrious career spanning two decades - and there were tears all around.

Fittingly, the 20-time Grand Slam champion chose the Laver Cup as his curtain closer, an international tennis tournament between Team Europe and Team World that Federer helped to create that is in a similar style to golf's Ryder Cup.

The Swiss tennis player who announced his retirement last week teamed up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal to play in a men's doubles tournament in front of a 17,500-capacity sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena.

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The pair were defeated 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9 by Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, but despite the loss, there was much to celebrate for Federer who received a standing ovation from the crowd.

After the match, Federer appeared emotional as he spoke to Jim Courier: "It has been a wonderful day. I told the guys, ‘I’m happy. I’m not sad.’ So, it feels great to be here.

"I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time and everything was the last time. Funny enough with all the matches and having the guys and being here among fans, family, friends... I didn’t feel the stress so much even though I did think something was going to go wrong - pop a calf or block a back or something in the match."

He continued: "I am so happy I made it through and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful.

"And of course, playing with Rafael Nadal on the same team and having the guys, everybody here, all the legends - Rocket (Rod Laver), Edberg Stefan, thank you!"

The 41-year-old then couldn't hold back the tears as he paid tribute to his wife Mirka for her support during his career.

“My wife is so supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago, but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play. It’s amazing. Thank you."

It wasn't just Federer who was crying as Nadal also broke down in tears at his friend and rival's retirement and explained how this also marked a major moment in his life too.

“When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving too because of all the moments that he has been next or in front me in important moments of my life,” Nadal said.

“So I have been emotional to see the family, see all the people. Difficult to describe, but amazing moment."

Tennis fans were also feeling emotional as they took to Twitter to share their gratitude to Federer, they also expressed their love for his friendship with Nadal and said they will cherish their nailbiting matches.

Though some weren't quite expecting the soundtrack to the scenes of Federer and Nadal's tears to be from Ellie Goulding as the singer performed her hits Still Falling For You and Burn after the match.

Elsewhere, Nadal has withdrawn from the Laver Cup singles tournament after his doubles match with Federer, citing personal reasons, Reuters reported.

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