Tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have finally taken part in the Laver Cup doubles championship, which will please almost everyone involved with the sport.
Tomas Berdych, a member of the European Laver Cup team, said that the pair's much hyped collaboration is exactly what everyone was waiting for.
“Everyone was waiting for this moment since they announced this event is going to happen. This is the time. So I think it's almost like a celebration of tennis," said the 32-year-old Czech.
And so it proved to be – eventually.
The Nadal–Federer partnership overcame the American pair of Jack Sock and Sam Querrey, and if this proves to be the first and last time the two modern day greats team up in the doubles format, they will have 100% record.
It was not without its hic-ups, however.
Early in the match, the singles stewards both went to smash the same ball, an error which Spaniard Nadal attributed to having “too much energy”.
There were also many court side conferences between the pair like this one.
Federer: "I feel like in doubles sometimes, that doubles players do it all the time. But I don’t think he is going to do it, you know? You have a small space to play in.
Nadal: "This morning I was very good when I was serving. After the break when I lost twice…(chuckles)
Federer: "You’re not a net player. I hope to help you.
Nadal: "Come on
Federer: "What do you think first point?”
Querrey and Sock made for challenging opponents, especially Sock, Wimbledon doubles champion from 2014 when he partnered Vasek Pospisil.
Sock is an expert in this form of tennis, instinctively knowing how to use the doubles tramlines to make his opponents uncomfortable – and coupled with his ability to hit the ball close to the ground –he made it a difficult afternoon for the singles players.
Nonetheless, you don’t spend a near decade at the top of the singles game without learning a few things, and in truth, as the match went on, the superior skill sets of Nadal and Federer began to tell.
Sam Querrey said after the match that the best players are the best players.
“Not only Roger and Rafa, but I think a lot of the other singles player in the top ten, if they really focused on the doubles, they could be in the mix for grand slams four times a year.”
Thankfully for the doubles circuit, Nadal and Federer’s combined age of 67 will probably mean that this was a one time deal.
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