Roger Federer trains for final tournament of career in London - in pictures

Swiss great hopes to play alongside Nadal in Laver Cup doubles clash at O2 Arena

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Roger Federer is hoping to bring the curtain down on his glittering career by teaming up with long-time rival Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner announced last week he intended to retire after the three-day tournament which starts on Friday at the O2 arena.

Federer has been struggling with a knee problem that has required multiple surgeries. The Swiss great has been out of action since a quarter-final loss at Wimbledon to Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in 2021. He subsequently announced he needed more surgery on his knee having previously undergone two operations in 2020 that kept him out for more than a year.

The Swiss confirmed on Wednesday that the final match of his illustrious career will be in the doubles on Friday evening. Italian Matteo Berrettini, the first alternate for the tournament that pits Team Europe against Team World, will then take Federer's place over the weekend.

Federer does not yet know whether he will be able to link up with Nadal but said it would be the dream scenario.

"Of course, no doubt," Federer. "I mean, I think it could be quite a unique situation, you know, that if it were to happen."

Federer said he and Nadal, 36, had always maintained a respect for each other. "For us as well to go through a career that we both have had and to come out on the other side and being able to have a nice relationship I think is maybe a great message as well to not just tennis but sports and maybe even beyond," he said.

"For that reason I think it would be great. I don't know if it's going to happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment."

Federer said he is now at peace with the decision to walk away, which comes a few weeks after Serena Williams played what is expected to be her last match at the US Open, and he wants this farewell to be a celebration.

“I really don’t want it to be a funeral,” Federer said. “I want it to be really happy and powerful and party mode.”

Federer added he was fortunate to have played against legendary opponents like Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

"I never really wanted those rivalries you know. I wish I would have just went off and won everything forever," Federer said.

"But now, looking back I couldn't be happier that we had these incredible matches with Andy. They were tough, we had some brutal matches, heated moments as well, and then we are today really cool with one another.

"Same with Novak, great matches, a lot happened but again we're on the same team super happy to think to be together here. Rafa of course the same thing. I'm very fortunate to be part of that group and then there was also Stan Wawrinka, you know and [Juan Martin Del Potro] Del Po and others in the beginning."

Federer's 20 Grand slam titles has been surpassed by Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) in an unprecedented golden era for men's tennis. But many still regard him as the greatest player ever to wield a racket.

He claimed 103 career titles, second only to Jimmy Connors, and spent a record 237 consecutive weeks as world number one from 2004 to 2008.

Updated: September 21, 2022, 4:00 PM
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