American star Frances Tiafoe spoiled the end of tennis legend Roger Federer’s fairy tale with a remarkable win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s Laver Cup tennis tournament.
Tiafoe beat Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6, 10-8 in Game 11 of the series to give his World team a 13-8 win over Team Europe in the event. This meant that superstar Roger Federer, playing for Europe, lost his last tournament as a tennis player. It was the first time Team World had won the tournament, the fifth time it had taken place.
Tiafoe played a big part in the series, teaming up with fellow American Jack Sock on Friday night to beat Federer and Rafael Nadal in doubles, in what was Federer’s final match. That night, Federer and longtime rival Nadal were pictured crying together and holding hands in a moving celebration of a long career, in which Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles. He announced his retirement this month, shortly after women’s star Serena Williams announced her intention to quit tennis.
Federer admitted he doesn’t like to lose. “Yeah of course I’m disappointed. I was in the team, I almost lost my voice and my hands hurt from cheering,” the 41-year-old said. “We want the result to be different. I told Andy [Murray] in the locker room, I don’t like to lose. It’s not funny. It just doesn’t leave the best taste, you know. I think once you go there and taste success, it’s not the same.
“I hope tonight can still be a nice night. Of course this weekend has been everywhere for me. I enjoyed it, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get the win.”
The European team led 8-4 at the start of the day, but fell behind after Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sock beat Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini in doubles. Then Auger-Aliassime beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 in singles.
Tiafoe refused to apologize for beating Federer in his last match, joking: [Federer] “has plenty to apologize for after the past 24 years of beating everyone on the tour.”
“No, I won’t apologize, but I will say thank you for inviting me to this incredible event, you know, what he did for the game, thank you also for what he did for the game. It’s a class act. Glad to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague and best wishes for his second act, but I won’t apologize.”
John McEnroe coached Team World and Bjorn Borg Team Europe. McEnroe said the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver would be his last. His counterpart and rival as a player, Borg, said he would likely pull out of the event.
“I think it will probably be the same for me,” admitted Borg. “It’s the fifth year and if we can be one more year at six, three times in Europe and three times in North America, that would be perfect. I’m very happy to do one more, yeah, like John too, to spend with these great players.”