Rafael Nadal has opened up about his special relationship with Roger Federer after the Swiss superstar retired from professional tennis at the Laver Cup.
Federer and Nadal suffered an agonising and dramatic 4-6 7-6(2) 11-9 defeat to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 Arena in London on Friday night in what was a hugely emotional occasion.
Nadal was full of praise for the man that he has famously battled 40 times during their illustrious careers and explained how the Swiss legend's style so nicely contrasted with his.
'A part of my life left with Federer' – Nadal recalls emotional goodbye to tennis legend
“Roger was always there in front of me," Nadal said in his post-match press conference alongside Federer.
"For me, he was always the guy to beat. So at some point, we were probably the biggest rivals - I think always in a very good way.
"We have never had any big issues and always respected each other and our families too.
“But our personal relationship has got better and better over the years, and we approach life in a similar way.
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“On court, we have completely opposite styles, and that's what probably makes our matches and our rivalry so big and interesting.
“I’m very proud to be part of his career in some way, but even happier to finish our career [rivalry] like friends after everything we shared on court as rivals.”
It was still a night of celebration and very moving moments for Federer, his fellow players and family members as the tears flowed following the conclusion of the match.
'Fedal' moment as Federer and Nadal both left crying after Swiss star's final match
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