Rafael Nadal passed Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles ever after winning the Australian Open last week, but the tennis greats will join forces in September’s Laver Cup. The Laver Cup, a three-day team competition pitting Europe against the rest of the world, announced the “Fedal” pair’s entry on Thursday.
The Laver Cup news helps ease the doubts surrounding Federer’s tennis future. Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, hasn’t played since last July’s Wimbledon after undergoing knee surgery in August. The knee procedure was Federer’s third in a year and a half, and the 40-year-old admitted the “end is near” for his career in November.
Federer also said he intends to play “some more big matches” before retirement. A team-up with Nadal certainly qualifies as big.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into competition later this year and Laver Cup is very much part of my plan,” Federer said in a statement. “I’m super excited to be returning to The O2 and to London, one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Federer and Nadal have played doubles together once before, at the inaugural Laver Cup in 2017.
The idea of reuniting wasn’t Federer’s, however. Federer said Nadal asked if he wanted to play the 2022 Laver Cup together after last year’s event in Boston. The answer was “definitely” yes for Federer, who describes Nadal as a “incredible person and an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.”
The 35-year-old Nadal holds Federer in similar reverence.
“Roger has been a huge part of my career, a big rival and also a true friend,” said Nadal, who won a record 21st Grand Slam last week to pass Nadal and Novak Djokovic. “To be part of Team Europe together is great and if we’re able to possibly share the court one more time as a doubles pairing then this would be a truly special experience for us both at this stage in our careers.”
Federer and Nadal will hope to keep Team Europe’s undefeated record in the Laver Cup alive at the 2022 event, which is slated to run Sept. 23-25 in London’s O2 Arena.