Roger Federer played his final professional match on Friday night, falling in doubles play alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal to Americans Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock at the Laver Cup on Friday in London. After the match, the two all-time greats shared a poignant, emotional moment, which has become a defining image of this year in sports. NBA great LeBron James seems to agree.
“So AMAZING man!! Damn man 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺,” James posted to his Instagram stories, sharing a tweet from ESPN’s Field Yates of the two teary-eyed tennis legends after the match.
“Seeing Rafa cry after Rodger’s final match of his career. Just wow,” Yates wrote. “The respect every player - even his most intense rival - had for Federer says it all.”
LeBron, in particular, can probably relate to what Federer and Nadal were feeling on Friday night. Unlike many of the NBA stars in earlier eras, James has close bonds and has teamed up with some of the other elite players of his generation, like Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.
After the match, Federer said he shed tears out of joy over the end of an incredible career.
“It feels like a celebration,” Federer said. “It’s exactly what I wanted at the end, exactly what I hoped for.”
Nadal shared in that emotion with his longtime rival.
“With Roger leaving the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments that he has been next or in front of me,” Nadal said after the match. “So [it’s] been emotional to see the family, to see all the people.”
More Tennis Coverage:
- Roger Federer Ends Storied Career With Laver Cup Loss
- Roger Federer Bids Emotional Final Farewell After Laver Cup Loss
- Rafael Nadal Emotionally Reacts to Roger Federer’s Final Farewell
Daily Cover: Julio Rodríguez Is Here to Save the Mariners