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Roger Federer got his timing right: Gaurav Natekar

Nadal and Federer

Bengaluru, September 24: While whether Roger Federer was right or wrong in hanging up his racquets after Laver Cup 2022 remains a subject open for debate, former Indian No. 1 Gaurav Natekar believes the Swiss Master has got his timing perfectly right.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner bowed out of international tennis after pairing with Rafael Nadal for once last time, representing Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Team World at the 02 arena in London. The pair went down 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 9-11 to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.

Federer has not played competitive tennis since his loss to Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinal of the Wimbledon last year.

Laver Cup 2022: Schedule, Results, Teams, Previous Winners, Telecast and Live Streaming InformationLaver Cup 2022: Schedule, Results, Teams, Previous Winners, Telecast and Live Streaming Information

Just like ex-Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Federer kept his legions of fans guessing about his future/retirement plans before announcing last week that the Laver Cup would be his swansong tournament.

While aficionados and fans were left bemused with his decision, Natekar feels Federer has made the right call.

Federer is a role model in every walk of life: SomdevFederer is a role model in every walk of life: Somdev

"There's nothing like right time or wrong when it comes to retirement. Even in the interviews Federer mentioned that he spend sleepless nights thinking over it. I personally think Federer has made the right call.

"The Laver Cup is an event which he had created and conceptualised. Agreed, it's an ATP World Tour event now. But it's something with Federer has had close ties. So it makes sense for him to decide that let me play at at event which I had created and conceptualised," Natekar told an invited group of journalists in a virtual media interaction hosted by Sony Sports Network, who have the official broadcast rights of Laver Cup 2022 in India.

For the records, Federer had the privilege to play his last tie with Nadal with whom he has shared a healthy and competitive rivalry on the court. The two had literally ruled the baseline for almost two decades and had lot of respect for each other.

And Natekar felt that it was poetic justice to have Nadal with him, that too on the same side of the court in his farewell match.

Gaurav Natekar

"Saying a good bye in a doubles match playing with someone like Nadal not only gives it a perfect send off, but also created enough hype. The fact is that his last match will be spoken about more because he played in a team event with Nadal as his partner," Natekar added.

While all the tennis buffs were yearning to see Federer in one more Grand Slam, - probably the 2022 Australian Open - there is another school of thought who were of the opinion that the tennis legend could have called it quits after last year's Wimbledon loss itself.

But Natekar said Laver Cup was the perfect stage for Federer's retirement.

"Last year was too early for him to retire as he was probably looking at whether he would be able to recover from his surgeries and so on.

"And waiting for Australian Open wouldn't have made sense at all as at the age of 41, after all those surgeries and without match practice, he wouldn't have been able to last for a couple of rounds. It's tough to play these five-setters in that kind of heat in Australia," Natekar concluded.

From September 23 to 25, watch the live coverage of The Laver Cup 2022 on SONY TEN 1 channel and live streaming on SonyLIV from 5pm IST onwards.

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Story first published: Saturday, September 24, 2022, 15:14 [IST]
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