Nadal, who has won a men’s record 22 Grand Slam singles titles, said it was a difficult night for him emotionally as the defeat to the American pair of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe marked the end of the 41-year-old Federer’s dazzling career.
Nadal said that a part of him was also leaving the men’s Tour with the retirement of the Swiss.
“For me, has been huge honour to be a part of this amazing moment of the history of our sport, and at the same time a lot of years sharing a lot of things together,” the Spaniard said of Federer.
“When Roger leaves the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments he has been next or in front me in important moments of my life. So has been emotional (to) see the family, see all the people. Yeah, difficult to describe. But, yeah, amazing moment.”
Federer and Nadal engaged in one of the most intense rivalry in sports, playing each other 40 times while Federer won 20 major singles titles.
They have remained pals off the court despite their fierceness on it. The Swiss’ decision to dance with Nadal for the last time on his side of the net was maybe the most appropriate.
Federer and Nadal, collectively known as “Fedal,” walked onto the court to raucous applause. Both were emotional after entertaining the sold-out audience during the game.
“I think every year the personal relationship gets better and better, on a daily basis,” Nadal, 36, told reporters. “I think in some way we understand at the end we have a lot of things similar. We approach the life probably similar.
“On court we have completely opposite styles, and that’s what probably makes our matches and our rivalry probably one of the biggest and most interesting.
“Very proud to be part of his career in some way. But even happier to finish our career like friends after everything we shared on court like rivals.”