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Roger Federer bids emotional farewell in doubles defeat alongside Rafael Nadal

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Over the course of the past decade and more, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have thrived regardless of circumstance. They have stared each other down in the finals of the grandest tournaments around the world and they have brought out their best time after time, even when the tension was most suffocating.

Their rivalry, with the frenzied popularity it created and the level it exhibited, has played a foundational role in the recent development of men’s tennis.

Yet nothing could have fully prepared them for the feelings they on Friday. After enduring 40 matches of the most tense, pressure-filled battles against each other, strangely the best moments of Federer’s career have often been the worst of Nadal’s, but they stood together on the same side of the net as they were defeated 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9 by Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the Laver Cup.

In the process, one of the greatest ever sporting careers came to an end. After match point, a visibly emotional Federer spoke to Jim Courier on court. “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time … the match was great.

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