Bengaluru, September 21: Roger Federer looks set to play the final match of his tennis career on Friday (September 23) after opting to only take part in doubles at the Laver Cup, and has described his great rival Rafael Nadal as his dream partner.
Federer is set to join the likes of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the other members of tennis' 'Big Four' - in representing Team Europe at the O2 Arena in London, but his fitness issues have led to doubts over the extent of his involvement.
Fitness coach Pierre Paganini said Federer would make "a last-minute decision" regarding the nature of his participation in the Laver Cup.
Paganini added: "His aim is to play something, though whether it's singles or doubles we'll have to see," and Federer appears to have opted for the latter option.
Federer told the Swiss press he would only be appearing in doubles at the event, though his partner is yet to be revealed.
"I'm happy and surprised at how good my shots are. But I won't be able to play singles, that was pretty clear beforehand," he told NZZ.
"That's why it was no longer an option to compete at the Swiss Indoors at the end of October. I guess I'll play doubles here on Friday night and that's it."
Nadal, one of just two men's players to have won more Grand Slam titles than the Swiss maestro (22, also Novak Djokovic with 21) appears the most obvious candidate, with Federer telling SRF: "Maybe I can play doubles with Rafa, that would be an absolute dream."
Asked whether he had any regrets at the end of his career, Federer added: "Of course, there're smaller things, but I can't think of any examples. I see it as an absolute dream career.
"I had a relaxed childhood. If I had been a bit more professional when I was younger, I might've been more successful.
"But then I might've burned out earlier because it would have been too serious for me."
The Swiss great, who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, announced last week that he was to retire from tennis after battling knee injuries.
When revealing the end of his career was imminent, Federer said: "I've worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body's capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear".
Meanwhile, Nadal has declared his career is far from over despite an injury-plagued 2022.
The Spaniard won both the Australian and French Opens this year despite suffering numerous injuries, while seeing other stars hang up their rackets.
Serena Williams announced her intention to retire ahead of the US Open, with Federer following suit as he prepares for a farewell at this week's Laver Cup.
However, speaking after receiving the Camino Real Award from King Felipe VI at the University of Alcala, the 36-year-old made it clear he does not intend to do likewise.
"I hope that this event doesn't imply that my career is over, far from it, or at least that isn't the intention.
"The intention is to continue to carry the name of Spain around the world while I'm still active and competing."
(With OPTA inputs)