Tennis’s greatest upset: Federer and Nadal

Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal at the ATP Tour Finals in Shanghai

At one of the biggest tennis tournaments of the year, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will duel in the final. Photo: Getty Images

On the eve of Wimbledon and with the ATP Tour Finals less than three weeks away, there was a palpable sense of disappointment on the red-tape-heavy press conference room carpet at Tianjin Olympic Tennis Center in China as Federer received his press conference medal and Nadal received his clay court trophy.

There was the usual jockeying for media attention by Federer and Nadal in the locker room, and a moment of tension as Federer arrived to the press conference and saw Nadal sporting his prize for beating Andy Murray with a 5-set, five-hour final five-set battle in one of the most shocking upsets in tennis history. Federer and Nadal smiled but there was a weight of expectation in both of their faces.

For most of the day, the two most dominant players in the history of tennis will go head to head on the same court in Shanghai for a rematch of the longest and most thrilling final in the tournament’s history.

Nadal and Federer will once again compete at the same venue, where their epic battle for the No 1 ranking in 2010 ended in a thrilling five-hour five-set contest that would come to be described as the greatest match in tennis history.

‘I can’t imagine how Federer has made it this far … and to beat him and to play on the big stage like this, it means a lot’.

Nadal’s team were not prepared for the intensity of Federer’s press conference, and their own preparation suffered. The Spaniard, the highest-ranked player on the tour’s calendar, was clearly unimpressed by the level of coverage and the attention to detail as he delivered an explosive opening address that was punctuated by a profanity-laced outburst.

“I don’t know how you write this down and how you say it, you can’t do this, you have to tell the truth. I have never seen a man like this playing the way he did,” said Nadal.

Federer, who began

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