Tearful Federer denied the fairy tale ending in the final game of his decorated Laver Cup career

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A tearful Roger Federer bid farewell to a 25-year career with a Laver Cup defeat in a doubles match that took place after midnight in London.

Federer teamed up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal against American duo Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock as Team Europe take on Team World at the O2 Arena.

After winning the first set, the Swiss and the Spaniard were met with a fiery fightback from Tiafoe and Sock, who won a second set tie-break before also securing the match tie-break to seal victory 4 -6 7-6 (7 -2) 11-9.

There was a great atmosphere in London on Friday for the fifth edition of the three-day competition.

Federer, 41, had not played a match since being knocked out of Wimbledon by Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals last year with a knee injury.

There were huge cheers as Federer and Nadal entered the pitch and loud roars for the tall Swiss as he found his first winner.

There was a sensational moment in the first set when Federer appeared to have earned a point after his shot hit the top of the net and bounced off, only for a replay to show the ball had somehow been kicked in. through a small gap between the net and the post, meaning the European side lost the point, despite the remarkably unlikely event of the ball crossing such a gap.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were among Federer and Nadal’s teammates providing tactical input between games, and the legendary duo had to save an early break point of the game before the Spaniard put them 5-4 up.

They were two of the all-time greats who took a tight first set when Sock volleyed into the net, prompting World Team Captain John McEnroe to tell his pair of doubles that they seemed to be “caught up in the hype”.

A determined world team managed to level it after a second set home and away that ended in a tie-break, Tiafoe and Sock prevailed with their superior power and pace.

It led to a dramatic tiebreaker, with every point keeping fans gasping, including signature magic from Federer at 6-7 when he deflected a shot from Sock across the pitch for a crowd-pleasing winner. .

It looked like the dream scenario was being followed as Federer served on match point for himself and Nadal, but the former could only hit a shot into the net, before Sock and Tiafoe won the next two points to secure Team World victory.

It was then hugs all around as respect was returned to the 20-time Grand Slam winner at the end of a phenomenal career.

Earlier in the day, Casper Ruud drew first blood for the European side, beating Sock 6-4 5-7 10-7, before Stefanos Tsitsipas doubled his advantage with an emphatic 6-2 6-1 loss from Diego Schwartzmann.

There was drama after the first set of this second singles match when a protester, wearing a t-shirt with the message ‘END UK PRIVATE JETS’, set his arm on fire on the pitch before being escorted away by security.

Alex de Minaur then put Team World on the board with a 5-7 6-3 10-7 success over home favorite Murray heading into the late-night main event under the lights.

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