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Federer, Nadal set to team up at Laver Cup

LONDON (AFP) – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are set to team up for Europe against the rest of the world in the fifth edition of the Laver Cup later this year.

The announcement yesterday comes despite uncertainty over Federer’s future in tennis following a long period of inaction after knee surgery.

The Swiss great, 40, said on Wednesday he would know by “April-May” if he will be able to return to the court after being on the sidelines since last year’s Wimbledon.

Federer and Nadal will be seeking to maintain Team Europe’s perfect record at the event in London, under the captaincy of Bjorn Borg.

The three-day team competition, inspired by golf’s Ryder Cup, pits six of the best players from Europe against six players from Team World.

Nadal is celebrating becoming the first man in history to win 21 Grand Slam titles by triumphing at the recent Australian Open – pulling one clear of rivals Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal of Spain embraces the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Daniil Medvedev of Russia at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. PHOTO: AP

Federer, who was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Laver Cup, said he was delighted that the Spaniard would be joining him in London.

The two players teamed up to play doubles at the inaugural event in 2017.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into competition later this year and Laver Cup is very much part of my plan,” said Federer, who has slipped to 30th in the rankings.

“Rafa is an incredible person and an inspiration to me and countless others around the world,” he added.

“He messaged me on social media after the Laver Cup in Boston last year suggesting we play doubles in London and I am definitely up for a Laver Cup ‘Fedal’ comeback.”

Nadal said, “I suggested to Roger we should play doubles together in London and he seems keen, so now we just need to persuade our captain, Bjorn.

“Roger has been a huge part of my career, a big rival and also a true friend.

“To be part of Team Europe together is great and if we’re able to possibly share the court one more time as a doubles pairing then this would be a truly special experience for us both at this stage in our careers.”

The Laver Cup will be held from September 23 to 25 at the O2 Arena, which hosted the ATP Finals for the last time in 2020 at the end of a 12-year run.