Roger Federer admits he is looking forward to watching his ‘Big Four’ rivals from the sofa or bed as he prepares to say farewell to competitive tennis at the 2022 Laver Cup.
The Swiss maestro will bow out after one final dance in the doubles alongside Rafael Nadal for Team Europe on Friday night.
Federer sat down with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray shortly before the tournament got underway, revealing he was “happy to go first” out of the quartet.
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“I am happy they are going to have more battles,” Federer told Eurosport. “I’m going to be watching from the couch or the bed, wherever, so it’s going to feel good.
“I’m happy to go first because I am the oldest of the bunch. I tried long and hard to come back for the last few years and this is the right moment to go out.”
Federer and his co-stars have been snapped enjoying themselves around London and the 41-year-old says their time together has been “incredibly special”.
“Tennis has meant and will still mean the world to me,” Federer added, with a show dedicated to him set to be broadcast on Sunday on Eurosport and discovery+.
“Tennis is in good hands, the boys are still here, a lot of new players are coming up.
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“Tennis is always bigger than any of us and it’s been an absolute pleasure to share the court [with 'Big Four' rivals] that many times and have so many cool battles.
“Some matches we might have forgotten or we ignore them, but there’s a lot of them that have connected us forever and it’s very special for us.”
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With Federer out the picture, the race to retire with the most Grand Slams switches to a two-horse race between Nadal and Djokovic.
Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open this year to move onto 22 major titles, with Djokovic clinching his 21st at Wimbledon in July.
However the pair have put aside their rivalry to join forces for Team Europe at London’s O2 Arena, with Djokovic making his first appearance at the Laver Cup.
“The last few days have been great,” said Djokovic, who is still waiting to hear if he can compete at the 2023 Australian Open due to his vaccination status.
“Sharing some really good quality time off the court, training with these guys.
“Being able to share the court with three of them yesterday in the practice doubles session was a lifelong experience that will definitely stay in my memories forever. It’s an honour to be here and I’m enjoying every moment of it.”
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Nadal will look to help Federer sign off his career with a win when the pair take to the court against Team World and all-American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe on Friday night.
“To be part of a team is always special. And you can imagine in this special occasion even more, to share moments with Andy, Novak, Roger and the rest of the team also,” said Nadal.
“It’s such a unique competition. We have been playing and competing with each other for such a long time. Becoming team-mates is something that changes everything.
"I’ll enjoy this moment, it’s so special for me and I’m very excited.”
It is testament to Murray’s standing in the game that, despite boasting ‘only’ three major titles and spending the last few years fighting for form and fitness, he has been paraded as part of the ‘Big Four’ rather than being shelved for a ‘Big Three’.
“For me, the last few days have been incredible,” said Murray.
“Just getting to be on court with these guys, go out for dinner with them, hang out. Especially this evening, to be part of that occasion is going to be really special.
“I feel very lucky and privileged to be here and be part of this and I’m looking forward to it.”
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Stream the 2022 Laver Cup exclusively live on discovery+ and eurosport.co.uk
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