The images of the beautiful and poignant handshake between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal during the Swiss tennis farewell ceremony held at the Laver Cup went around the world. On the melodious notes of the music of the famous singer Ellie Goulding, the Swiss champion and his rival-friend of all time have not been able to hold back the tears, even going so far as to sob with strong emotion.
Christopher Clarey, a reporter for the New York Times, asked Federer in his interview to describe precisely that moment, which the now former Basel tennis player thought had gone unnoticed. Roger explained: "I saw it.
Well, I mean, it was a short moment. I think at some point I was sobbing so hard, and I don't know, everything was going through my head about how happy I was to live this moment right there with everyone." Federer who then attributed to Ellie Goulding's singing skills the credit for having mitigated the emotions of the moment and declared that he held Nadal's hand as a secret thank you: "think that was the beauty of sitting there, taking it all in as the music played and her focus was perhaps more on singer Ellie Goulding.
At some point, since obviously I couldn't speak and there was music, I think I touched it, and maybe it was a secret thank you. I don't know what it was, but for me maybe it was like that and how I felt and some photos came out of it."
Retired Federer, Nadal gets excited: "A part of me goes away"
Rafa Nadal thought of adding extra emotion to an evening that was already super exciting in itself. The Majorcan, protagonist together with Federer of one of the greatest rivalries in the entire history of tennis, in fact let himself go to the sensations of the moment during the farewell ceremony dedicated to the Swiss on the occasion of the Laver Cup, dedicating words of extreme praise to him.
The Spaniard told: "With Federer's retirement, a part of me goes away. Seeing his family in the stands was an incredible emotion. It was a long and positive journey with Roger. We started when I entered the Tour and when he was the best and he was always there.
We suddenly became rivals. We respect each other a lot, our families love each other, growing up our relationship has improved day by day. We understood that we have many things in common, even though we have always been very different on the court.
This made our rivalry so special. In personal life and in family life we have probably always been very similar. I feel safe talking to him and it's a wonderful thing after everything we've been through over the years.
I am very proud to have been part of his career, but I am even more so because I can consider him a friend."