Roger Federer made it official earlier this month that he will be retiring from tennis, with his final appearance coming at the Laver Cup this weekend in London, where he’s played doubles with longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe, starting with a match on Friday against Americans Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe.
In the first set, Federer scrambled for a ball outside the court and whipped it back into play by going through the net, which led to some discussion from both teams, Team World captain John McEnroe, and the chair umpire as they tried to figure out what had just happened and whether that was legal or not.
Federer’s career has been one of firsts, and he did it again tonight, by somehow hitting the ball between the net and the actual net post 😂🔥 pic.twitter.com/gQQaZV6EQu
— Olly 🎾🇬🇧 (@Olly_Tennis_) September 23, 2022
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The replay shows how the ball, somehow, snuck its way through the gap between the post and the netting, but under the net cord, in a hole that is literally the size of a tennis ball and nothing more.
After initially being given a winner, it was deemed not to be a legal shot and, instead, was a point for the Americans on Team World. However, that doesn’t really matter because it was unbelievably cool and if they want that not to be legal then maybe they should not have any spot on the net where a ball can fit through.
The Laver Cup is Federer’s farewell to competitive tennis, and it’s fitting that the man who defined a generation of men’s tennis in terms of artistry on the court produces one last moment we’ve never seen before (and may never see again).