Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal called the retirement news of Swiss maestro Roger Federer ‘a sad day’ for the sport in a heartfelt note on Twitter.
Nadal, one part of the Big Three of tennis which includes Federer and Serbian star Novak Djokovic, says he was happy to share the court with one of his biggest opponents throughout his career.
“Dear Roger,my friend and rival,” tweeted Nadal. “I wish this day would have never come. 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.”
Nadal added that it wasn’t the end of line for the duo and they will meet again on the court, but maybe not professionally. “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 [at the] @LaverCup.”
Earlier, Federer broke the news fans across the world have long been fearing when he announced on Thursday he will retire from competitive tennis after next week's Laver Cup in London.
The 41-year-old Swiss, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles and is regarded by many as the best player ever to wield a racket, has not played a match since last year's Wimbledon.
"As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries," Federer said in a post on Instagram.
"I've worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body's capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old."
"I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it's time to end my competitive career.
The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour."
Federer, who dominated men's tennis after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, has been troubled by injuries in recent years.
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