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Rafael Nadal said it has been a ‘pleasure but also an honour and privilege’ to know Federer on and off the court.

The tennis world has been left reeling today after Roger Federer announced that his final ATP match will be at the Laver Cup next week, after which he will retire. At 41 years old, Federer’s retirement announcement has been expected for a while.

Federer’s long-term rival Rafael Nadal was quick to wish him well in the future.

‘‘Dear Roger, my friend and rival,’’ Nadal wrote on Instagram. ‘‘I wish this day would have never come… it’s a sad day for me personally and for sports people around the world. I said it to you when we spoke and now it’s here.

‘’It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.

‘’We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that.

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‘’For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London at the Laver Cup.’’

ALSO READ: COMMENT: Records will always be broken, but Roger Federer was bigger than tennis

The Federer-Nadal rivalry is considered one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, with many people also considering their clash at the 2008 Wimbledon final as the best tennis match of all time.

The pair have played each other a whopping 40 times throughout their careers, with Nadal leading the head-to-head 24-16.

Federer will be the first of the Big Three to retire, and tributes have been pouring in from all over the world for who a lot of people believe to be the greatest tennis player of all time. 

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