Nadal pens emotional tribute to Roger Federer after retirement news

‘My friend and rival… I wish this day would have never come’: Rafael Nadal pens emotional tribute to Roger Federer as his old adversary confirms his retirement at the age of 41 – but the Spaniard insists ‘we will have many more moments to share together’

  • Tennis star Roger Federer has announced his decision to retire via social media 
  • The 20-time Grand Slam champion retires as one of the greatest players ever 
  • Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slams, penned an emotional tribute to Federer
  • The Spaniard wished ‘this day would have never come’ for his long-time rival 
  • Nadal is convinced the pair will ‘have many more moments to share together’ 

Rafael Nadal saluted his long-time rival Roger Federer and said news of his retirement is ‘a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world’. 

Federer announced on Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the age of 41, with the last tournament of his illustrious career to be the Laver Cup in London, scheduled to be held at the O2 Arena next weekend.

Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, has enjoyed numerous duels with Federer over the years, with thrilling finals and agonising defeats at the hands of the Swiss.

Along with Novak Djokovic they have proven a dominant ‘Big Three’ in men’s tennis and news of Federer’s retirement led to Nadal penning an emotional tribute.  

Rafa Nadal (left, pictured in 2006) paid tribute to long-standing rival Roger Federer on Twitter

Writing on Twitter, Nadal described it as a ‘sad day’ for him and the rest of sporting world

‘Dear Roger, my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come,’ he tweeted.

‘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.’

Federer and Nadal will team up at the Laver Cup in London next week for what will be an emotional farewell to the sport for Federer. 

Over the last two decades Nadal (left) and Federer (right) shared plenty of battles on the court

In more recent years they collaborated to raise money for their charitable foundations

While they have been great rivals over the past two decades, there has been an underlying respect and they have collaborated in recent years for charity. 

In 2010 Federer and Nadal played matches in aid of the ‘Joining Forces for the Benefit of Children’.

Proceeds from that event went to the Rafael Nadal Foundation and days later they played off again for the ‘Match for Africa’, with proceeds then going to the Roger Federer Foundation.

Then, in 2020, the long-standing rivals revived the ‘Match for Africa’ at Cape Town Stadium in South Africa.

There were 51,954 spectators in attendance to watch them play each other, setting the record for the highest ever attendance at a tennis match in the world.

Federer (left) paid his own tribute to his rivals, saying he was ‘lucky’ to have had ‘epic matches’

Federer didn’t name players like Nadal specifically in his retirement announcement but did give a nod to those who had rivalled him over the years. 

‘I would also like to thank my competitors on the court,’ Federer said. 

‘I was lucky enough to play so many epic matches that I will never forget.

‘We battled fairly, with passion and intensity, and I always tried my best to respect the history of the game. 

‘I feel extremely grateful we pushed each other, and together we took tennis to new levels.’


Billie Jean King: ‘Roger Federer is a champion’s champion. He has the most complete game of his generation & captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with an amazing quickness on the court & a powerful tennis mind. He has had a historic career w/memories that will live on and on. 

‘Congratulations @rogerfederer. We wish you the very best as your journey continues.’

Judy Murray: ‘The end of a magnificent era’ 

ATP Tour: ‘You changed the game’

Milos Raonic: ‘Roger, thank you for doing more for tennis than any single individual. Thanks to you competitors and fans across the world get to experience and enjoy it all over the world. 

‘Congratulations on your achievements and the people you continue to impact in and away from tennis.’

Petra Kvitova: ‘Roger – you have always been such a huge inspiration to me. Your elegance, your grace, your beautiful game. I have always held you in the highest regard and want to congratulate you for an amazing career. Tennis won’t be the same without you! Thank you’

Wimbledon: ‘Roger, Where do we begin? It’s been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word.

‘We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many.’

Carlos Alcaraz: Roger…(with a broken heart emoji)

‘Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! Wish you all the luck in the world for what comes next! 

US Open: Thank you, Roger

Juan Martin del Potro: ‘I LOVE YOU, Roger. Thank you for everything you’ve done in tennis and with myself. Tennis world will never be the same without you.’ 

Roland Garros: An inspiration on and off the court. Thank you, Roger

Rod Laver: Thank you for everything Roger. See you soon. Rocket

Genie Bouchard: Roger (with three crying emojis)

Martina Navratilova: ‘What a heartfelt message , full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. Which is exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you, for all the magic!!! Xoxoxo’

Jessica Pegula: Tearing up just listening to this. We love you Roger

Andy Roddick: Cheers Roger. Thanks for the shared memories my friend. It was an honor to share time/experiences on the most hallowed grounds in our sport. Don’t be a stranger….

Denis Shapovalov: A role model for me and so many others!! Thanks for everything Roger. It’s been a privilege to share the court with you!!

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