Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic & Serena Williams Pay Tribute To Roger Federer | ATP Tour

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal created one of the most iconic rivalries in all of sports. Following Federer’s retirement announcement on Thursday, Nadal wrote a letter to his “friend and rival” on Twitter.

“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 honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court,” Nadal wrote. “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 at Laver Cup.”

Federer and Nadal played each other 40 times in their ATP Head2Head series, with 24 of those matches coming in finals. All but four of their clashes came in the semi-finals or final of a tournament, or at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Read More: Federer & Nadal, The Rivalry 

The pair first met on court in 2004 in the third round in Miami. Their most recent battle came in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals. Both men will compete for Team Europe at next week’s Laver Cup, Federer’s final ATP event.

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On Friday, Novak Djokovic, who along with Federer and Nadal made up the ‘Big Three’, wrote a note to the Swiss on Instagram.

“Roger it’s hard to see this day and put into words all that we’ve shared in this sport together. Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram. “Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise. It’s an honour to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come.

“I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to. From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future. Looking forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London. @rogerfederer”

Djokovic and Federer met 50 times in their ATP Head2Head series. Their final 46 matches came in the semi-finals or final of a tournament, or at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Read More: Federer & Djokovic, The Rivalry

WTA legend Serena Williams, who in August announced she was “evolving away from tennis” in an article for Vogue, also shared a message for Federer on Thursday.

“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. 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,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer.”

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