TENNIS

'It's been an honour' - Rafael Nadal salutes friend and rival Roger Federer following retirement communiqué

After rivalling Roger Federer on the court for much of the last two decades, Rafael Nadal has now paid an emotional tribute paid to the Swiss legend following his retirement announcement on Thursday.

Rafa Nadal pays tribute to the retiring Roger Federer

Spanish great Rafael Nadal has paid homage to his fellow Swiss legend Roger Federer after the latter announced his retirement on social media on Thursday.

The pair have shared an iconic rivalry on the court for more than two decades and are regarded as two of the best ever to do it.

However, the 41-year-old Swiss has now called time on his iconic career after announcing on Thursday that he will bow out of the game after this year's Laver Cup, happening next week in London.

Following his announcement, messages have continued to pour from social media with many fellow professionals in the sport and beyond sending tributes to the 20-time Grand Slam winner.

Amongst the many names was also another Tennis legend and Rafael Nadal who penned an emotional letter to Federer via his social media with a post that read:

"Dear Roger, my friend and rival, I wish this day would never have come,"

“It's been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.

“We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that. For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London at the @lavercup.“ Nadal wrote.

Nadal posted a 24–16 career mark against Federer and out of the 14 Grand Slam matches between the two legends, Nadal holds a 10–4 edge.

Federer announced on Thursday that he will make his final ATP Tour appearance at the Laver Cup in London.

"As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,”

“I've worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body's capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been dear. I am 41 years old.

"The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour."

He is one of the most successful players in tennis history, tallying 20 Grand Slam titles.

His 20-major singles mark is third all-time among men’s players, trailing only Spain's Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

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