It may not have been a fairytale ending with Roger Federer losing his final match to the US pair of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe [4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9] alongside long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal in the men’s doubles match in Laver Cup, but on Friday the O2 Arena was all about the Swiss star who brought the curtains down on a wonderful career.
Amid a standing ovation, Federer later appeared for an on-court interview with former World No. 1 Jim Courier. Here is the full transcript of the emotional interaction -
Federer: Look, it’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys, “I’m happy. I’m not sad.” So, it feels great to be here. ( tears up)
I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time and everything was the last time. Funny enough with all the matches and having the guys and being here (amid) fans, family, friends... didn’t feel the stress so much even though I did think like something was going to go (wrong) - pop a calf or block a back or something in the match.
I am so happy I made it through and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful.
And of course, playing with Rafa (Rafael Nadal) on the same team and having the guys, everybody here, all the legends - Rocket (Rod Laver), Edberg Stefan, thank you. (sic) (breaks down)
Courier: You’ve created so much history in this sport. You’ve really done so much. So much of it has happened and It’s beautiful that it’s happened with guys that are on the bench with you here. How special is it to not just have Rafa, Andy (Murray) and Novak (Djokovic), but all the guys, who are here to support you on this special night? They’re here with you wearing the same uniform. That’s got to be pretty sweet....
Federer: It is amazing. It really is. I didn’t want it to feel lonely out there. I felt lonely for a second when they told me to go out or you (Courier) want me to come out one more time.
I feel great. But to be saying goodbye in a team; I always felt I was a team player at heart. Singles doesn’t really do that a whole lot, but I’ve had a team, you know, that travelled with me around the world. It’s been amazing with them. So, thanks to everybody who made it work.
And then of course being on the team with Andy, Thomas (Enqvist), Novak, Matteo (Berrettini), Cam (Cameron Norrie), Stefanos (Tsitsipas), Rafa and Casper (Ruud) and also the guys on the other team. You guys are unbelievable. It’s been a pleasure playing all these Laver Cups.
And it does feel like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this at the end, and it’s exactly what I hoped for so thank you.
Courier: It’s been an amazing ride. It’s been incredible to watch this journey that you’ve been on. It started as a boy playing tennis. You turned into a junior champion, then a world champion, and then you became a sporting icon. What has that journey been like for you?
Federer: It was never supposed to be that way. I was just happy to play tennis and spend time with my friends, really. And then I ended up here. It’s been a perfect journey. I would do it all over again. (sheds tears)
It’s been great. It’s been so much fun. It’s been amazing. Thank you everybody. I’ve had so many people cheer me on, and you guys here tonight means the world.
Courier: You’ve always had the fans wherever you go, you’ve always been the home team and Roger, it’s your name on the trophies, it’s your name all across the record books. But you didn’t do it by yourself. You had a great team behind you all the way. You had your family behind you all the way. How much did their support help you get right?
Federer: Yeah, I mean... Do we have to go there? ( sniffling with a smile, audience laughs)
Courier: No, I’ve got more questions.... We can move on.
Federer: No, it’s okay. I’ve done okay so far, I feel. At least, I’m able to talk. In my vision, I was never able to talk, so... I’m doing way better. ( audience cheers)
And everybody is here, tonight... from my family, so it’s great. Had so much fun over the last 13 years. Ever since... Everybody’s here - the girls, the boys (Myla Rose, Charlene Riva, Leo and Lenny). My wife is so supportive. ( camera pans to an emotional Mirka as Roger cries) She could have stopped me long, long time ago. But ‘you’ didn’t, she kept me going and allowing me to play. So, it’s amazing. Thank you. ( Nadal is shown to be in tears)
And then I don’t know.... I find that always funny. We always blame my mom for everything because without her I wouldn’t be here, of course. So, thanks to my parents, you have been amazing. Thank you. ( Lynette and Robert are shown crying)
And just everybody. Too many people to thank... it’s just been incredible. (Oh) My God. Fantastic night. Thank you, everybody.
Courier: Roger, You’ve done so much. We’ve loved watching every minute of it. You’re 41, you’ve got a lot of open road with your family and all of your adventures. Stay in touch. We’re going to miss you, ladies and gentlemen, Roger Federer!
Federer: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you everybody!
Watch the full interview here: