Roger Federer has thanked Rafael Nadal for making his farewell outing at the Laver Cup a special one. The Swiss ace partnered up with his long-time rival and close friend in a doubles encounter, in what was to be his final match in a professional capacity.

The 41-year-old announced his retirement from tennis on Sept. 15, and confirmed that his outing at the Laver Cup in London will be his last competitive on-court appearance. Unable to play singles, Federer's final wish was to play doubles alongside Nadal to bring a fitting end to his career.

Nadal, meanwhile, looked to have made it to London just for the farewell match, as the Spaniard left London after fulfilling his commitment to Federer. The 22-time men's singles Grand Slam champion's wife Xisca Perelló was recently hospitalised due to pregnancy complications.

Despite facing a difficult period in his personal life, Nadal made it a priority to be by Federer's side as he bid adieu to his professional career. Tears flowed at the O2 Arena during the Swiss maestro's farewell speech where he was surrounded by friends and family.

"I told him, 'Look, I'll keep you posted. You let me know how things are at home. And we'll reconnect'," Federer said. "But it very quickly got clear on the phone, and Rafa told me, 'I will try everything I possibly can to be there with you.'"

"And that felt obviously incredible for me. And it showed again how much we mean to one another and how much respect we have. So, an incredible effort by Rafa, and I'll obviously never forget what he did for me in London."

Federer and Nadal's on-court rivalry has spanned over a decade and the two legends of the sport have faced each other 40 times. The Spaniard holds a 24-16 advantage with their last encounter coming at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

"I just thought it would be just a beautiful, amazing story for us, for sports, for tennis, and maybe beyond that as well, where we can coexist in a tough rivalry and come out on top and show that, hey, again it's just tennis," Federer added.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer (left) teamed up with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London AFP / Glyn KIRK