Nadal reacts to ‘sad’ Federer news
Tennis icon Rafael Nadal has taken to social media to pay respect to Roger Federer after the Swiss legend announced his retirement on Thursday.
Releasing a lengthy statement, the 41-year-old Federer had revealed his plans to bow out of professional sport after next week’s Laver Cup in London.
Reacting to the news, Nadal also took to Twitter and sent his generational rival all the best.
"Dear Roger, my friend and rival," Nadal began.
"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.
"We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that," Nadal added.
"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," the Spaniard signed off.
Dear Roger,my friend and rival. 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 👇🏻— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 15, 2022
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 @LaverCup— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 15, 2022
Women's great Serena Williams, who recently stepped away from the sport herself, welcomed Federer "to the retirement club" and thanked him "for being you" on Instagram.
"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career," the American began.
"I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future," Williams went on, while sharing a trio of photos of the pair together.
Twelve-time major winner Billie Jean King described Federer as a "champion's champion".
"He has the most complete game of his generation and captured the hearts of sports fans around the world with an amazing quickness on the court and a powerful tennis mind," King also said.
"Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration," revealed new world number one and US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz.
"Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you."
At the ATP, chairman Andrea Gaudenzi claimed that Federer "redefined greatness on the court while his champion spirit, sportsmanship and the way he played the game thrilled audiences around the world for decades, inspiring so many to pick up a racket".
"He spearheaded an incredible new era of growth and elevated the popularity of our sport. Few athletes have transcended their field in such a manner," Gaudenzi pointed out, additionally declaring: "Roger made us all feel proud and fortunate to be part of the same sport."
Away from tennis, one of the highest compliments Federer was paid came from his country's president Ignazio Cassis, who told him the Swiss "couldn't be prouder" of their compatriot.
"What a career, what a champion. Thank you Roger Federer for all the matches, victories, defeats and emotions we were able to experience," Cassis said.
Elsewhere, football megastar Lionel Messi uploaded a snap of Federer at his Wimbledon best and dubbed him a "genius, unique in the history of tennis and an example for any athlete".
"All the best in your new stage, we will miss seeing you on the court making us enjoy [ourselves]," the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner lamented.