‘I wish this day had never come,’ says Rafael Nadal as he posts heartfelt tribute to ‘friend and rival’ Roger Federer after his retirement announcement

Rafael Nadal has paid a heartfelt tribute to his ‘friend and rival’ Roger Federer following the Swiss star’s decision to retire from tennis.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slam titles to his name, has announced he will retire from professional tennis following the conclusion of the Laver Cup next week.

The greatest tennis player of all time hangs up his racket

Tributes to Federer from the sports world poured in, including one from Nadal, with whom he locked horns on the biggest stage on several occasions, including the thrilling men’s singles final at Wimbledon in 2008.

Although their rivalry has been fierce on the pitch, there has always been respect there, with Nadal admitting he wishes Federer’s retirement was a day he never saw coming.

“Dear Roger, my friend and rival,” the Spaniard tweeted.

“I wish that day had never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world.

“It has been a pleasure but also an honor and a privilege to share all these years with you, to experience so many incredible moments on and off the pitch.

“We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there is still a lot to do together, we know that.

'I wish this day had never come,' says Rafael Nadal as he posts heartfelt tribute to 'friend and rival' Roger Federer after his retirement announcement
Nadal vs Federer is one of the iconic sports rivalries

“For now, I really wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your children, your family and enjoy what lies ahead. I’ll see you in London


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