Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have told talkSPORT they are honored to be involved in Roger Federer’s “special” farewell from professional tennis.
Tennis fans will have a rare treat this weekend as, along with Rafael Nadal, all of tennis’ ‘big four’ will join forces to represent Team Europe against Team World in the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena. .
The Ryder Cup-style tournament will serve as Federer’s farewell to the sport he helped take to the next level in a historic career, after the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced his retirement from tennis the last week.
Federer will lift the curtain on his career with a doubles match in London on Friday night, where he is set to play alongside his oldest and biggest rival Rafael Nadal in a once-in-a-lifetime match.
The Swiss legend, who has admitted defeat in his ongoing battle with a knee injury, has revealed he could have announced his retirement sooner but is keen to leave for London – the scene of many of his triumphs the most famous, notably his eight titles at Wimbledon. .
Federer has also had many battles with Murray and Djokovic, and the pair are ready to help the 41-year-old get the goodbye he deserves as the Scot has admitted it will mark the end of the era perhaps. to be the greatest in tennis.
Asked about his reaction to Federer’s announcement, two-time Wimbledon champion Murray told talkSPORT: “A bit sad, actually.
“The next few days are going to be incredible, there is going to be an incredible atmosphere during the matches.
Most Read Football
Derby appoint League One promotion specialist Paul Warne as new manager
Souness responds to Grealish with ‘evening out’ joke but warns: I was right about Pogba
Arteta branded ‘irresponsible’ and ‘self-indulgent’ for making Nwaneri debut aged 15
‘Arsenal fans will be embarrassed’ – Gabriel’s tweet condemned by host
Woods ‘baffled’ by Maddison’s absence from England ahead of 2022 World Cup
James wins right-back race and Bellingham start – England line up against Italy
“I know what Roger, Novak and Rafa have accomplished far outshines anything I’ve done, but they’ve been the biggest competitors I’ve had, the biggest rivals, I’ve played them in some of the biggest tournaments, biggest matches throughout my whole career and it’s sad that this will be the last time we will all be together.
“But it’s a very nice way for Roger to end his career, I think it’s going to be really special.”
22-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic added: “Andy and I have been around for a long time since we were 12, and so celebrating Roger’s career is something that is the icing on the cake.
“We got an invitation to be part of the Laver Cup knowing that all four of us would be on the same team, and that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so for me, of course , it was just, ‘Yes, yes I’m ‘coming’.
“And then when we heard about Roger’s announcement, and that made it even more special. We’re all very excited.
Djokovic admitted it was a strange – but nice – feeling hanging out on the same team as another of tennis’ ‘big four’ after spending their entire career battling for the biggest trophies on the court.
“We don’t have that kind of opportunity to spend that quality time out of the country, because usually we have our teams, our families, we’re on the road most of the time and we have our routine,” said the Serbian.
“And we are rivals on the circuit, so it would be awkward to go to dinner and then play each other in the same tournament.
He turns to Murray: “Did you do that?
“No, no, never,” replied the Scotsman with a smile. “But I always thought it was because no one liked me!”
The man himself also joined talkSPORT at the Laver Cup launch in London to discuss his decision to hang up his racket and tennis shoes, and admitted it was a relief the news was now out.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time,” Federer said.
“At some point it ends for everyone, but this one looking back at probably a month ago, I thought it was going to be just terrible, in the sense that it was going to be so emotional.
“But now, since the announcement, I know it’s going to be happy, it’s going to be good and it’s going to be exciting.
“I think it helped me a lot to write all those words, to thank people, to remember how nice the trip was, the training, the players, there are so many things that went into a career that since I crossed the line with the news that my big weight came off my shoulders.
“I was finally able to announce it to the world and announce it to all my friends, because I didn’t want to tell everyone early on, I just thought the weight of having to carry that information was not just not fun. I didn’t want them to have to lie to people.
“So the moment I told everyone it was hard but once I was done I realized it was good, I’m glad I finally told everything the world.”
And the player considered by many to be the greatest of all time had some good news for fans upset at his departure from the game.
Federer said in his announcement that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family – his wife Mirka and their four children – but it looks like we may not have seen the last of him on the pitch.
“I want to play tennis, personally, for me,” Federer added.
“That’s what Stefan Edberg, my hero and idol when I was little, told me and he was also my coach for a few years.
“He told me, ‘Don’t stop playing’ and keep hitting the ball, once or twice a week. It’s good for your body and the problem is that when you don’t play for forever, the body hurts too much when you come back and it gets really scary.
“So I won’t do that, and anyway I really like playing. I’m looking forward to the different days I’ll have, but they’ll be busy – as a father of four, it’s going to be crazy anyway!
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT fan zone.
In a huge covered room under the arches of Waterloo in London, we will bring you live screenings of every World Cup match.
There will be Q&A with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live shows and plenty of food and drink will be on offer too.
Come and have the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a free pint – with tickets for the England and Wales group stage matches on sale now HERE!