Roger Federer ends illustrious career with doubles defeat at Laver Cup
Roger Federer was unable to bring the curtain down on his illustrious career with one final victory after he suffered defeat in the doubles at the Laver Cup to ensure a dramatic opening day ended level at 2-2.
The 20-time grand-slam champion teamed up with old rival Rafael Nadal for his ‘last dance’ in London but saw his dream finale ruined by Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, who won 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 to dampen spirits at the O2.
Spectators inside the venue had been stunned earlier in the day when a protester ran onto the court and set fire to his arm in a protest against private jets being used in the UK.
It was a distant memory by the time Federer had started to roll back the years but he could not maintain a strong start with Team World able to level up the scores after Team Europe had opened up a 2-0 lead at the start of the day.
This Ryder Cup-style team competition was the brainchild of the Swiss star and first started in 2017 with a format which sees six of the best players from Europe take on six counterparts from the rest of the world across a mixture of singles’ and doubles’ contests over three days.
Federer had to bend his own rules to feature in only a doubles contest due to his troublesome knee injury but produced several highlights in two hours and 14 minutes of action before he bowed out from competitive tennis following a lengthy hug with old adversary Nadal and another standing ovation.
A marathon two-hour-and-29-minute clash between Andy Murray and Alex de Minaur kicked off the evening session with the Team World player winning 5-7 6-3 10-7 to get the visitors on the board.
Double Wimbledon champion Murray had displayed plenty of his trademark defence during a lengthy battle but it was the Australian who held his nerve in the 10-point tie-breaker.
“I just wanted to do anything I could to get the win for my team and I managed to find a way,” de Minaur said on-court.
“I don’t know how much tactics were out there. It was be ready for a battle and for however long it took. Andy is a hell of a player, he has done so much for the sport and it is just great to have him around.”
A protester had grabbed the headlines during the afternoon session when he set fire to his arm in an act to highlight the climate issues surrounding private jets being used in the UK.
It was during a changeover between sets in Stefanos Tsitsipas’ 6-2 6-1 win over Diego Schwartzman that the spectator raced onto the black court and briefly had his arm ablaze before security were able to step in.
Tsitsipas admitted: “It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what this is all about. I never had an incident like this happen on court. I hope he is all right.”
Met Police later revealed the protester, who had been wearing a t-shirt which read ‘END UK PRIVATE JETS’, had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
A statement added: “He has been taken to hospital as a precaution; his injuries are not believed to be life-threating or life-changing.”
Victory for Tsitsipas followed up Casper Ruud’s thrilling success over Sock at the beginning of day one 6-4 5-7 10-7.
The US Open runner-up and world number two had to fight back from a three-point deficit in the tie-breaker to take the opener.
Ruud received in-game coaching from his Team Europe colleagues, notably Nadal, and said: “Obviously I was focused about the match and trying to win it but it is fun, you turn around and have Rafa on one side and Roger on the other trying to help.
“I didn’t feel like I needed an unbelievable amount of help but they gave me some good tips.
“I had never played Laver Cup tie-breaker. They said to take it one point at a time. I think it was good advice and feels a bit surreal to have them on both sides.”
Emma Raducanu ‘extremely grateful’ after receiving MBE from King Charles III for services to tennis
Emma Raducanu has collected her MBE.
Sue Barker reveals how going off-script during Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win got her in trouble
A lovely anecdote from the legendary Sue Barker.
WTA top 10 prize-money earners in 2022: Iga Swiatek well clear as Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula also feature
Iga Swiatek laughing all the way to the bank after brilliant 2022 season.
WATCH: Emma Raducanu inspires next generation during ‘tennis masterclass’ with school pupils
Emma Raducanu giving back.
Roger Federer not ready for skiing holiday, but wants to take his kids on adventurous African trip
Roger Federer eyeing an adventurous African holiday.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov come full circle: ‘It’s cool to be in this position now’
From Junior Davis Cup champions to Senior Davis Cup champions.
How Cameron Norrie aims to become a tougher player to face
Cameron Norrie is tough to break down, but he feels he can make life even harder for his opponents.
Cameron Norrie hoping Saudi jaunt sets him up for Australian Open
Cameron Norrie is looking forward to seeing the sun again.
Alexander Zverev has made peace with his injury layoff
Alexander Zverev is at peace over his French Open injury saying at least it didn’t happen snowboarding.
Alexander Zverev heads to Saudi Arabia for competition and comradery
Alexander Zverev is thrilled to get the chance to get back on court and rub shoulders with the boys again.