By Ricky Dimon
Roger Federer is confident that he has at least one more match left in him.
Federer is not going to play singles at the Laver Cup, which will be the official site of his retirement this coming weekend. However, he hopes to be physically fit to the extent that he can play doubles for Team Europe against Team World. If that is the case, it is widely expected that a Federer-Rafael Nadal pairing will be on display at the O2 Arena in London on Friday night. Team Europe alternate Matteo Berrettini is likely to replace Federer in a Sunday singles rubber.
“I am trying to prepare for one last doubles, and we’ll see with who it is,” the Swiss announced during his pre-event press conference on Wednesday.
“It could be quite a unique situation if it were to happen,” he said of a doubles partnership with Nadal. “For as long as we battled together to having always this respect for one another, the families, our coaching teams, we always got along really well. For us as well to go through a career that we both have had and to come out on the other side and being able to have a nice relationship I think is maybe a great message as well to not just tennis but sports and maybe even beyond. For that reason I think it would be great. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment.”
Federer and Nadal have teamed up at the Laver Cup once before, defeating Jack Sock and Sam Querrey 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 at the 2017 event in Prague. The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion is 1-3 in doubles with other partners at this team competition (losses with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, plus a win with Zverev). Federer is 6-0 lifetime in singles at the Laver Cup.
The 41-year-old made his retirement announcement last Thursday, confirming that the 2022 Laver Cup would be the final competitive appearance of his illustrious career. Federer has not played since Wimbledon last summer, when he reached the quarterfinals before falling to Hubert Hurkacz.
Already dealing with knee problems at the time, Federer has since been unable to make a full recovery.
“There was a certain process that started at the beginning of the summer where you try to go to the next level in training and I could feel it was getting difficult,” he explained. “I think tennis is a tough sport to bounce back into, because you have to be able to play long matches, five matches in a row every week, (on) different continents (and) different surfaces.
“Mentally you need to know you have to be able to get all the way back there, and it’s hard. Then maybe the hardest part after that one point, of course you’re sad in the very moment when you realize, ‘Okay, this is the end.’”
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.