Roger Federer confirms Laver Cup doubles match as last before retirement

Switzerland's Roger Federer talks during a media conference ahead of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London. Credit: PA

Roger Federer has confirmed he will play one final doubles match on Friday evening before calling time on his illustrious career.

The 20-time grand slam winner, who announced his retirement last week, told a press conference on Wednesday that bowing out is "the right decision".

He will play his final event at London's Laver Cup, a Federer brainchild with a Team Europe vs. Team World format.

The Swiss star said it took time to get used to the idea of stepping away from competition. However, Federer insisted retirement was necessary after running into setbacks this July during his rehabilitation from what was his third surgery on his right knee in about one-and-a-half years.

“You’re sad in the very moment when you realise, ‘OK, this is it,’” Federer said. His most recent operation came shortly after his last singles match - a quarter-final loss to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in July 2021.

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“You always want to play forever,” Federer continued.

Federer would not say definitively who his doubles partner would be for the final match of his career - he said that’s up to team captain Bjorn Borg - but the expectation is that it will be long-time adversary Rafael Nadal.

Federer said: “It is clear that the most beautiful thing would be to play doubles here with Nadal, because it has been my great rivalry.”

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Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also on Team Europe for the tournament, which begins on Friday at London’s O2. They will face a world team including Taylor Fritz, Felix Augur-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman.

Federer will bow out from the tournament after a career that began in the 1990s, lasted until the 2020s and included 20 Grand Slam championships, 83 titles at other tournaments and hundreds of weeks at No. 1 in the rankings.

He called his retirement a “bittersweet decision” when he announced it last week via social media.