The Laver Cup will be the last chance to see Roger Federer play a professional match. And he will do it together with his friend and rival Rafael Nadal, who has come from Manacor to make the farewell of one of the best tennis players in history sweeter and more special.
Swiss and Spanish will pair up in a historic doubles match this Friday night (around 9:00 p.m. local time, 3:00 p.m. Paraguay), in which Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe will face each other. The rivals are the least of it, the important thing and what attracts and seduces the sport is the possibility of seeing Nadal and Federer together on a tennis court once again.
It will not be unprecedented, since both already played a doubles, with Sock and Sam Querrey in between, at the starting gun of the Laver Cup in Prague 2017. That meeting left historical images, of Federer and Nadal embracing, celebrating together, jumping of joy, and that still persist in the collective memory.
Both highlighted the importance of these moments occurring more frequently in the world of sport.
“It will be super special to play with Rafa. That we have one last chance to do it is a wonderful thing, ”said Federer, present this Thursday at the press conference of the European team.
In the next seat was Nadal, recently arrived from Manacor, where yesterday he trained for the last time before taking a plane to London this morning. The Spaniard barely had time to land, before rushing off to the O2 to be with his teammates. “I thank you for waiting for me,” said Nadal, who highlighted what it means to be next to Federer tomorrow.
“Being part of this historic moment is going to be unforgettable for me. I’m very excited, I hope I can play well, create a good atmosphere and win the match. Being by Roger’s side once again is something I look forward to and it makes me very happy”, added the man from Manacor.
At the moment, this doubles is the only match that Nadal has scheduled in the Laver Cup. It will be his first appearance on the court after his defeat in the round of 16 of the US Open against Tiafoe, before the unknown of what else he will play until the end of season for the birth of their first child in the coming weeks.
The duel of Federer and Nadal will be the one that closes the first day of the Laver this Friday in the night shift. Before the most anticipated match of the day, and of the entire tournament, the Norwegian Casper Ruud and Sock will start the contest between the European team and the Rest of the World. They will be followed by the clashes between the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and the Argentine Diego Schwartzman and that of the British Andy Murray and the Australian Alex de Miñaur.
The format of the tournament is unique in the circuit and consists of four matches each day -from Friday to Sunday-, in which each match won on Friday has one point, on Saturday two points and on Sunday three points. The first team to reach thirteen points wins the competition. Europe, captained by Bjorn Borg, has dominated the tournament with an iron fist and has won the editions of Prague, Chicago, Geneva and Boston against the Rest of the World team, whose captain is John McEnroe.
In addition to Nadal and Federer’s claim, this is the first opportunity to see all the members of the ‘Big Four’ together, with Andy Murray Novak Djokovic. In the case of the Serbian, it will be his first appearance on court since he won his 21st Grand Slam at Wimbledon in this same city. Djokovic was unable to participate in the North American cement tour due to his refusal to be vaccinated and after the Laver Cup, which he already played in 2018, he will play the ATP 250 in Tel Aviv, which begins on September 26.