By Stella MacLean
On Friday, September 23rd at the 2022 Laver Cup in London, tennis legend Roger Federer sealed his career in an epic two hour and 12 minute battle on the court. He returned for his last hurrah after a yearlong break from competition. The final match of the thousands he has played over his 24-year professional career was a doubles match played with his tennis-rival-turned-friend, Rafael Nadal. The two men played against Team World’s players Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe. This match was an emotional one for 41 year old Federer, who has devoted his life to the great sport of tennis.
Sock hit a killer forehand securing the win for Team World and ending the match 4-6, 7-6, 11-9. There was a moment of silence that filled the arena before the crowd broke into cheers to show their love for Federer. In post-match interviews, he stated he was not upset about going out on a loss. Afterward, he noted, “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time, and everything was the last time.” He took the time to acknowledge each small part of his career that he would miss after the day. Even though it was a big day, with the support of “fans, family, friends [he] didn’t feel the stress so much.” Prior to his match, he posted on Twitter, “I’ve done this thousands of times, but this one feels different.” This match is surely not one that Federer and the rest of the tennis world will soon forget.
Federer’s legacy is a grand one, with eight Wimbledon, six Australian Open, five US Open, and one French Open titles. He accumulated 103 trophies for singles and had a whopping 310 weeks as the Number 1 Player on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. Nadal named him “one of the most if not the most important players in [his] tennis career.” On top of his achievements is the raw emotion and dedication he brought to the sport. Novak Djokovic, another competitor and friend, described Federer’s emotion post-match as “one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life.” Federer’s retirement is bittersweet – the tennis legend will be missed, but his legacy will live on.
Avery Harrison ’24, a member of the Varsity Tennis Team at Winsor, said, “Watching this match with my family marked the end of an era. I grew up watching his matches, so this was a big deal.” Like many tennis fans in the community, watching Federer play is something Avery will miss. “He’s really an inspiration,” she explained. His grit and dedication throughout his career are a model to everyone of how hard work pays off. The result of his final match does not overshadow his fantastic career in the slightest, and Roger Federer will be a tennis icon for ages.