Djokovic and Nadal given early tip off over Federer retirement plans

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Novak Djokovic has revealed that he, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray learned about Roger Federer’s retirement at the Laver Cup months before the 41-year-old announced the news on Instagram. The Big Four are teaming up for the first and last time to represent Team Europe in Federer’s final tournament.

Federer will play the final match of his career at the Laver Cup on Friday night, teaming up with one of the biggest rivals of his career to say farewell. It will be the second time that ‘Fedal’ partner on the doubles court after winning a match together at the inaugural Laver Cup five years ago, but this year marks the first and last time that all of the Big Four are part of the same team.

Djokovic had played the 2018 Laver Cup with Federer in Nadal’s absence while Murray is making his debut at the team tournament this weekend, and the Serb revealed that they had actually learned about the 20-time Major champion’s retirement when they first signed up to be a part of Team Europe earlier in the summer. Federer officially announced the news in an Instagram post last Thursday.

“I think when we found out we were going to be on the team, Roger said at that point he still didn’t know if this was going to be his last match and last time playing on the tour,” the world No 7 said during Team Europe’s joint press conference on Thursday. While Federer did not officially confirm the decision until last week, Djokovic said it made the event more appealing

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He added: “Of course it was huge excitement for me personally to be on the team, knowing that this will probably be the first and the last time that we will be all together, not knowing again that he’s going to retire.  But, you know, him announcing that made it even more special.”

While Federer had been uncertain about whether the tournament would be his last, he made the realisation shortly after appearing at Wimbledon for a farewell ceremony this summer. During the Centre Court centenary celebrations, the eight-time champion at SW19 said he was hoping to play one last Wimbledon next year.


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“I hope I can come back one more time,” Federer said at the time, though this week he admitted that he was kidding himself with the claim. Explaining his decision to retire during his final press conference on Wednesday, he said: “Then maybe the hardest part after that one point, of course you’re sad in the very moment when you realise, okay, this is the end.

“I sort of ignored it for a little bit almost, because I went on vacation and just said, Okay, this is it.  This moment came shortly after I was at Wimbledon where I still truly actually believed there was going to be a chance for me to come back the next year. At what capacity, I didn’t know, but I thought it might be possible.”

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