Roger Federer bade goodbye to professional tennis on an emotion-laden night at the Laver Cup.
Representing Team Europe alongside long-time rival Rafa Nadal, they lost 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9 to Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.
The legendary Swiss heads into retirement at the age of 41, and 20 Grand Slam wins.
“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”
His right knee was the major driver behind his decision to retire, having been the subject of multiple surgeries recently.
“For me, just personally, [it was] sad in the first moment when I came to the conclusion it’s the best decision,” Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press this week about his emotions when realizing it was time to go. “I kind of held it in at first, then fought it off. But I could feel the pain.”
A couple of hours before Friday’s match, Federer tweeted: “I’ve done this thousands of times, but this one feels different. Thank you to everybody who’s coming tonight.”
Before Federer, the men’s mark for most major tennis championships was 14 by Pete Sampras. Federer blew past that, accumulating eight at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open, and one at the French Open.
This goodbye follows that of Serena Williams, the owner of 23 major singles championships, at the U.S. Open three weeks ago after a third-round loss.