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Switzerland's Roger Federer attends a training session ahead of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London on Wednesday. Image Credit: AP

London: Roger Federer said on Wednesday he wants to team up with long-time rival Rafael Nadal for the final match of his career at the Laver Cup in London.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner announced last week he intended to retire after the tournament at London’s 02 arena, which starts on Friday.

Federer, whose last competitive match was a loss to Hubert Hurkacz in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals, has been struggling with a knee problem.

He will play in the doubles on Friday evening but will not play a singles match in London.

The Swiss does not yet know whether he will be able to team up with Nadal but said that would be the dream scenario.

“Of course, no doubt,” he told a packed press conference. “I think it would be quite a unique situation if it were to happen.

Great message

“For as long as we battled together, there was always this respect for one another — our families, our coaching teams, we always got along really well.

“For us as well to go through the careers we’ve both had and come out the other side and be able to have a nice relationship, I think is maybe a great message as well to not just tennis and sports but maybe even beyond.

“For that reason it would be great. I don’t know if it’s going to happen but it would be a special occasion.”

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Roger Federer waves during the media conference ahead of the Lave Cup. Image Credit: AP

Nadal, who holds the record for Grand Slam titles with 22, Novak Djokovic, who has won 21, and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray are all part of Team Europe.

Their opponents, Team World, include Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman.

Bittersweet decision

Federer said he was happy to step away from tennis at the age of 41 but admitted it was a “bittersweet decision”.

“You always want to play forever,” he said. “I love being out on court, I love playing against the guys, I love travelling.

“I never really felt like it was that hard for me to do, of winning, learn from losing, it was all perfect. I love my career from every angle.”

The Swiss said he was happy with his place in the debate over who is the greatest of all time in the men’s game even though his tally of Grand Slam titles has been eclipsed by Nadal and Djokovic.

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Rafael Nadal (left) and Roger Federer have enjoyed great respect for each other, on and off the court. Image Credit: AFP

“I’m definitely very proud and very happy where I sit,” he said.

“One of my big moments, of course, was winning my 15th slam at Wimbledon, you know, when Pete (Sampras, who had won a then-record 14) was sitting there. Anything after that was a bonus.”

Fitting farewell

Federer said it was fitting that he would finish his career in London, where he has enjoyed so much success.

“This city has been special to me, maybe the most special place with Wimbledon down the road and here at the O2. Having played here and qualified for so many years and won here as well (in the ATP Finals), I just thought it was very fitting.”

He said he said he had no intention of disappearing off the radar despite his looming retirement.

Fallen in love with tennis

“I just wanted to let the fans know I won’t be a ghost, you know. It’s funny, you know, I talked about Bjorn Borg just before.

“I don’t think he returned to Wimbledon for 25 years. That, in a way, hurts every tennis fan. Totally acceptable, his life, his reasons.

“But I don’t think I’ll be that guy and I feel tennis has given me too much. I have been around the game for too long, have fallen in love with too many things.”