Frances Tiafoe opens up on Roger Federer’s emotional retirement
Roger Federer on retirement
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Frances Tiafoe has opened up on the ‘crazy’ scenes that surrounded Roger Federer’s emotional farewell at the Laver Cup in September. The American teamed up with compatriot Jack Sock to take on Federer and Rafa Nadal in the Swiss maestro’s last ever professional match, with the contest played amid a frenzied atmosphere in the O2 Arena.
But there was to be no fairytale finish for the 41-year-old, with Tiafoe and Sock winning a thrilling tie-break decider. The result proved crucial as Team World went on to prevail 13-8 overall, and claim the team trophy for the first time in the tournament’s short history.
In the immediate aftermath of the match, there were few dry eyes as players on both sides bid farewell to Federer. Taking the microphone to speak to the crowd, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said: “We’ll get through this somehow, will we, right?! Look, it’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here. I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time – and everything was the last time.”
But it wasn’t just Federer struggling to hold back tears, with great rival Nadal also visibly upset. And now Tiafoe, 24, has described the surreality of being involved in the emotional and memorable scenes.
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“Everyone was crying, Novak, Rafa, Murray”, said Tiafoe, via @WeAreTennis. “These are the guys who have played against him most often, who have always wanted to beat him, the greatest rivals of all time, and to see them cry on his behalf, I said to my self: ‘This is crazy'”
Two days later, it was Tiafoe who went on to seal Laver Cup glory for John McEnroe’s team, coming from a set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas. And afterwards he himself paid tribute to Federer, saying: “Playing him was unbelievable. He’s such an inspiration to this game, unbelievable ambassador we’ve had for 20-plus years. We’re all gonna miss him.”
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Tiafoe has shown signs that he can emerge from the younger generation now threatening the long held dominance of Federer, Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. In September, he reached the semi finals of the US Open, beating the Spaniard along the way.
There, he lost a five set match to eventual winner Carlos Alcaraz, a contest which lasted more than four hours. The American ended the year with a career high ranking of No 17.
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