Roger Federer has broken his silence over the timeless photo of himself and Rafa Nadal that sent the sport world into a frenzy during the Swiss icon’s farewell.
Federer called time on his career last week after he and Nadal suffered defeat at the hands of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in his final match at the Laver Cup.
Viewers watched on as the 20-time grand slam champion was offered a special farewell that brought Federer, his family, and fans to tears.
And in the midst of the emotional tribute, Nadal was also seen tearing up alongside his greatest rival and good friend.
In a beautiful moment that transcended the sport, Federer was caught on camera grabbing his friend’s hand as both came to grips with the monumental moment.
The image will remain as a testament to the pair’s fierce rivalry, but even more importantly their friendship throughout their careers.
And Federer has now revealed just how important that moment was to him.
Speaking to the New York Times, Federer addressed the image that has been labelled one of the most moving moments in sport.
“I have seen it. Well, I mean, it was a short moment. I think at one point, I was sobbing so hard, and I don’t know, everything was going through my mind about how happy I am to actually experience this moment right there with everybody,” Federer told tennis reporter Christopher Clarey.
“And I think that’s what was so beautiful about just sitting there, taking it all in while the music was playing, and the focus was maybe more on her [the singer Ellie Goulding]. So, you almost forgot that you’re still being taken pictures of.
“I guess at one point, just because obviously I couldn’t speak and the music was there, I guess I just touched him, and I guess it’s maybe a secret thank you.”
Rafa Nadal talks Laver Cup emotions
While Federer was aware of the moment, Nadal admitted he hadn’t seen any images after the Laver Cup.
Nadal withdrew from the tournament and returned to Spain after the farewell festivities to see his pregnant wife, Xisca.
And Nadal said it was an emotional night for everyone involved.
“Well, I haven’t seen the photo. I’m not a big fan of social networks,” Nadal told the media.
“I’m a sensitive person, and when you see someone you appreciate like that, it’s hard not to get emotional, although it got a little out of hand.
“When I got to my room, I got emotional again.”
Straight after Federer’s final match, Nadal admitted he felt nostalgic being at the Laver Cup with Federer.
“When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments that he have been next or in front me in important moments of my life,” he said.
“So have been emotional see the family, see all the people. Yeah, difficult to describe. But, yeah, amazing moment.”
Speaking on Friday night, Nadal opened up on how difficult it was for him to leave Xisca during the Laver Cup
“They have been difficult weeks, few hours of sleep, a little stress in general,” he admitted.
“The situation is a little more complicated than usual at home. I have had to deal with a different pressure than what you are used to in professional life.
“Luckily everything It’s fine, much calmer, and in that sense, I have been able to come here, which was important to me.”