Rafa vs Roger
Over the years, Federer and Nadal showed off individual greatness and compelling contrasts across their 40 matches -- 14 at Grand Slam tournaments, nine in major finals: righty vs lefty, attacker vs grinder, seeming effortlessness vs relentless intensity.
And yet, there was an unmistakable element of poetry with these two men who challenged each other and elevated each other performing as partners, slapping palms and sharing smiles.
The last hurrah came after a total of 103 career singles trophies and 1,251 wins in singles matches for Federer, both second only to Jimmy Connors in the Open era, which began in 1968.
At the height of his powers, Federer appeared in a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals, winning eight, from 2005-07. Extend that to 2010, and he reached 18 of 19 major finals.
Beyond the baseline
More than those numbers, tennis fans will remember the powerful forehand, the one-handed backhand, the flawless footwork, the spectacularly effective serve and eagerness to get to the net, the willingness to reinvent aspects of his game and - the part of which he is proudest - the unusual longevity.
Beyond the elegance and effectiveness while wielding a racket, Federer's persona made him an ambassador for tennis, someone whose immense popularity helped attract fans.
Federer's farewell follows that of Serena Williams, the owner of 23 major singles championships, at the US Open three weeks ago after a third-round loss.
It leaves questions about the future of a game he and she dominated, and transcended, for decades. But for now, it is time to salute a true champion. Adios Roger!