‘Sporting Equivalent of Being at a Friend’s Funeral’ – Jim Courier Articulates What Rafael Nadal Means to Roger Federer

Published 09/25/2022, 11:04 PM EDT
Tennis – Laver Cup – 02 Arena, London, Britain – September 23, 2022 Team Europe’s Roger Federer with Rafael Nadal at the end of his last match after announcing his retirement Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

It has been a year full of emotions for tennis fans. The 2022 season has been the final one for many superstars in this sport. While Ashleigh Barty shocked one and all with her retirement announcement shortly after winning the Australian Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bid adieu to tennis in front of his home crowd at the French Open. Earlier this month, Serena Williams ended her career after the US Open. And last week saw the farewell of Roger Federer after he played his last match with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup.

Nadal, who was by Federer’s side during the Swiss maestro’s final moments in tennis, was emotional after their match. Recently, American tennis legend Jim Courier gave his views about Rafael Nadal’s burst of emotions.

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Jim Courier on the friendship between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

During an interview, the 52-year-old talked about what the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s retirement meant to the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray. He said, “Felt like Murray and certainly Novak and Rafa, they are connected. And in a way, those guys were seeing there and sort of in the future through that lens last night.” 

INDIAN WELLS, CA – MARCH 15: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands at the net after his straight sets victory against Rafael Nadal of Spain in their fourth round match during day ten of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 15, 2017 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Further, he went on to add, “Now, that was special, that was probably why Rafa was so emotional. I don’t know if he’s the closest to the end, none of us know but it felt like he was, you know, it’s like the sporting equivalent of being at a friend’s funeral.” 

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Despite their fierce rivalry, Roger Federer and Nadal have great respect for each other. Moreover, their friendship grew over the years as they dominated men’s tennis.

Team World lifts the 2022 Laver Cup

Team World caused a massive upset as they defeated a star-studded Team Europe 13-8 to win the 2022 Laver Cup. With this, they clinched their maiden title at the tournament.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and Others In The Greatest Comebacks in Tennis 

Yesterday, Frances Tiafoe shocked Team Europe’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in a pulsating encounter to hand Team World the Laver Cup title. Earlier in the day, Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated the former world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets to hand Team World the advantage.

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Vatsal Shah

1323 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

Edited By: Veer Badani

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