Roger Federer’s high praise for his friend and rival Rafael Nadal

20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was a guest on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he reflected on his amazing career, but also talked about his emotionally-charged final doubles match with Rafael Nadal in London earlier this year.

Roger revealed that Rafa was not sure if he would be able to make it to London for the Laver Cup as he was awaiting the birth of his first child but that our champ had promised that he would try and make it to the farewell match.

“This is a very unusual situation for us to be on the same team. That changed the whole dynamics of my farewell. My hope was I could play doubles with Rafa. So I called him up after the US Open. It was a very emotional phone call because it was one of the first times I told somebody outside of my team and my family,” Federer said.

“I had to call him up and tell him ‘hey Rafa, just before you make any other plans, I would love you to be at the Laver Cup and play maybe one last doubles with me. It would be amazing. Unfortunately, my knee is not good anymore and I think, it’s the end, you know?’.

“And he is like, ‘okay, oh my god, okay, yeah I will be there whatever it takes’.

“He has now become a father, happy for him. And we were not sure if he was going to make it because of the baby. It was one of the first times I had to tell that story and come to terms that my career was ending.”


  1. Roger is so engaging in conversation. I felt emotional listening to what Roger said to Rafa about his retirement. A genuine friendship between these two greats which is wonderful to see.

  2. Amen-context is everything. Excruciating waiting for Noah to shorten his babble, so
    Roger could continue. Always measured and diplomatic-as genuine in person as he was
    here before the cameras👏take a bow, Mom and Dad Federer, your boy is pure class!

  3. I so agree Margo….The story Roger told Trevor about getting to Wimbledon without his membership card was classic…so funny and entertaining the way he relayed it… I can only hope for Roger that the Dr. he saw in London might have another view on his knee injury and can help him in his quest in finding a pain free existence…

    And as far as our Rafa… seems clear to me…. he wants to keep playing as long as he can produce quality tennis…. He seemed to refer over and over again to the fact that he had not had enough match play, so I am hoping his exhibition tour with Casper gave him that match play he needs along with his practices, in order to prep himself both physically and mentally for the Australian swing in January.

    Also….Rafa mentioning that he and Roger will be back to Colombia for a doubles exhibition match sometime in the future is something to look forward to….

    Sounds like Rafa is still in it to win it!

  4. That interview really explains a lot about the emotions between the two greats. I can just imagine the huge emotion for Roger in explaining to Rafa for the first time that he really was about to retire. And Rafa was there for him.

    We had heard the story before but context is everything.

  5. Tennis with Rafa and Roger was one of the best enjoyments of my life. Thank you for what you both gave for so many for so many years. It’s not the same now for me but I have great memories of great matches. Always my champions!

  6. He’s always been interested in rafa career and a good friend for years lovely to see vamos Roger and Rafa xxxxx

  7. We will never tire of Roger and Rafa. So much majesty and magic which was apparent from
    the beginning. No greater ambassadors for the sport-consummate professionals on and off the court. Gentlemen and warriors. How rare it is to have a rival who truly “sees” you, and shares
    the glory and the tears-it is just destiny🎾❤️🙏

  8. Glad that Fedal played the doubles match together. What a special moment for both.🫶 Happy and thankful Maria and baby Rafa are well.🥰

    • Wow, this is very moving and poignant…the huge amount of respect and love between these two friends and rivals…not sure we will ever see two rivals say such truth and nice words and do such good deeds for each other. They represent the best and what’s great in the world of tennis and sports. I would love to see Rafa and Roger play together again one more time in an exhibition match in the future!

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