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U.S. star Frances Tiafoe's win means Roger Federer loses final tennis tournament

Team World's Frances Tiafoe plays a return to Team Europe's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their singles tennis match on the third day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London on Sunday.
Kin Cheung
Team World's Frances Tiafoe plays a return to Team Europe's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their singles tennis match on the third day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London on Sunday.

U.S. star Frances Tiafoe spoiled the fairytale ending for tennis legend Roger Federer with a remarkable comeback win against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Laver cup men's tennis tournament.

Tiafoe beat Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6, 10-8 in the 11th match of the series to give his Team World a 13-8 victory over Team Europe in the event.. It meant superstar Roger Federer, playing for Europe, lost his final tournament as a tennis player. It was the first time Team World had won the tournament, the fifth time it has ever run.

Tiafoe played a big part in the series: he teamed up with fellow American Jack Sock on Friday night to beat Federer and Rafael Nadal in doubles, in what was Federer's final ever match. That night, Federer and long-time rival Nadal were pictured crying together and holding hands in an emotional celebration of a long career, in which Federer won 20 grand slam titles. He announced his retirement this month, not long after women's star Serena Williams announced plans to leave tennis.

Federer conceded that he didn't like losing. "Yeah, of course I'm disappointed. I was on the team, almost lost my voice and my hands hurt from clapping," the 41-year-old said. "We wish the result would be different. I told Andy [Murray] in the locker room, I don't like losing. It's not fun. It just leaves not the best taste, you know. I think once you have been there and taste success, it's just not the same.

"I hope tonight can be still somewhat of an enjoyable evening. Of course this weekend has been all over the place for me. I enjoyed it, but it's unfortunate that we couldn't get the win."

Team Europe were ahead 8-4 of the start of the day, but went behind after Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sock beat Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini in doubles. Then Auger-Aliassime beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 in singles.

Tiafoe refused to say sorry for beating Federer in his last game, joking: [Federer] "has got a lot to apologize for after the last 24 years after beating everybody on the tour."

"No, I won't apologize, but I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event, you know, what he's done for the game, also say thank you for what he did for the game. He's a class act. Happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague and best wishes in his second act, but I will not apologize."

John McEnroe coached Team World, and Bjorn Borg Team Europe. McEnroe said next year's 2023 edition of the Laver Cup in Vancouver would be his last. His opposite number and rival as a player Borg said he would also likely retire from the event.

"I think that it will probably be the same for me," Borg admitted. "This is the fifth year and if we can be one more year at six, three times in Europe and three times in North America, that would be perfect. I'm very happy to do one more, yeah, like John, too, to spend with these great players."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robbie Griffiths

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