And Federer is gone. The day that sport did not want to come and for which tennis was not prepared landed like an emotional blow on the Swiss, Rafael Nadal and everyone who has enjoyed this sport. The Swiss left, said goodbye, the teacher hung up the racket and leaves tennis an orphan. There will never be another like him.
With Novak Djokovic advising them on the changes, with the tears of Lynette, Federer’s mother, with the look of Rod Laver in the stands, the help of Stefan Edberg and with the last touch of magic from the magician from Basel, who slipped a ball through the gap between the net and the stick that holds it, the curtain was lowered for the work of art that began when in Basel someone decided that little Federer should hold a racket.
The Swiss said goodbye to tennis in one of the houses that he has been leaving throughout his 24-year career, the one in which he won eight Wimbledons, more than any other man in history, and in which he crowned two Cups of Teacher.
This time the prize was not a title, the O2 sold out the 20,000 tickets available to celebrate the Swiss’s farewell. While the stands were covered in blue and red, the colors of Europe and the Rest of the World in the Laver, the first tears dawned. Lynette, mother of genius and transmitter of his one-handed backhand, shed the first cry of the night. He wouldn’t be the only one.
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The messages were discovered: “Don’t go.” “Never retire.” “Tennis won’t be the same without you.” The melancholy, the sadness, the love for a unique tennis player merged in a bucolic setting in which the least important thing was the result.
As master of ceremonies was Edberg, Federer’s youth idol and whom he met when he was still a ball boy in Switzerland, Laver presided over the stands, Bjorn Borg, whose challenges were destroyed by Federer, watched him from the bench, John McEnroe almost wanted his pupils did not win, Djokovic gave them advice between changes, and next to Federer, with a mischievous smile, Nadal appeared.
The Spaniard, villain of Federer’s career and the cause of some of his worst afternoons, was the necessary support so that Federer did not do this farewell alone. His friend and companion of a thousand battles flew from Manacor, where he awaits the birth of his first child, only so that, when Federer needed a helping hand, Nadal’s would be found.
In a match with an irregular rhythm, with a Federer away from his competitive tennis and a Sock and Tiafoe aware of their secondary role in this whole story, Nadal, who was bombarded with balls, pulled the legendary duo’s car. The result was an anecdote and ended in defeat for Nadal and Federer, who had not played for 14 months.
Since Federer, at the age of 13, put aside football to focus on tennis, until this September 23 in London, a thousand stories have passed, hundreds and hundreds of images that have made up the tennis imaginary of an entire generation and of all those who grew up believing they could imitate the impossible shots of a kid from Basel who slammed forehands and drew backhands as if God had given him a special gift to do so.
Federer, whose first racket was made of wood, ended up embracing the members of his team one by one, including essential members of his career, such as Andy Murray, Djokovic, Nadal and Borg, one of his childhood idols. .
Very emotional, the Swiss ended up in tears on the London track and chanted with a continuous “Roger, Roger!
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