Rafael Nadal has paid a touching tribute to his most celebrated rival, Rogers Federer, after the tennis legend announced his retirement from the sport earlier today.
The pair have faced each other 40 times, with Nadal leading 24-16, and have been involved in some of tennis' greatest matches. They are both part of the sport's 'big three', along with Novak Djokovic, but have always had a much closer relationship with each other than with the Serb.
Nadal took to Twitter to pay his respects, with an incredibly well worded and heartfelt post.
Dear Roger, my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.
We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that. For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London
Dear Roger,my friend and rival.
I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world.
It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court 👇🏻
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 15, 2022
Federer vs Nadal : A Rivalry For The Ages
Earlier today, Federer released his own retirement statement via Twitter, announcing that the Laver Cup next week will be his last tournament: “As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries.
"I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been dear. I am 41 years old,” Federer said in a statement on social media.
“I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career. The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.”
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) September 15, 2022