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Roger Federer’s last gift to Stefanos Tsitsipas

There is a saying out there that advises never meeting your idols in person. For what may happen, in case they are not what they thought, in case you are unbearably disappointed. Luckily some still take risks and thankfully it doesn’t always happen. Though Stefanos Tsitsipas It had been a few years coinciding with Roger Federer on the circuit, he will not keep any more special memories with the Swiss than the night of last September 24, when the 20-time Grand Slam champion played his last professional match in the Laver Cup 2022 and became a retired tennis player.

A bitter, bittersweet night, with easy tears, but with a tremendous anecdote that the Greek shared a few hours ago in his last press conference since ATP 500 of Astana. After the doubles match that Federer lost with Rafa Nadal, the Athenian did not think twice and went straight for the Swiss with only one mission: to take something unforgettable.

“Roger, it would mean the world to me if I could have one of your rackets. I have been following you around the circuit since I was 3 years old, nothing would make me more excited than to have one of your last rackets to frame it and put it in my house, sharing that moment with you would be extremely special for me. I hope you don’t mind giving me that piece of your identity”, recalled the current No. 6 in the world in ATP about a conversation that until now was unknown. Now it only remains to discover what the answer was.

“Luckily for me, Roger agreed,” Stefanos recounted with a laugh. “He was my idol throughout my growth stage, throughout my childhood, not taking something from that last meeting would have been a mistake, something I would have regretted all my life. He has always been very kind to me, from time to time i sleep with that racket”, He commented between laughs, although only he knows to what extent his statement is true. More than one would not be surprised at all.

AN IRREPLACEABLE HOLE

Tsitsipas, who ended up being the protagonist in the outcome of the Laver Cup after losing the last point against Frances Tiafoe, also explained what he felt in the hours following the withdrawal of the Swiss. A surprising experience that shows to what extent he idolized Federer, to the point of feeling his departure as an irreparable loss, a feeling that most of his followers could also feel.

“I spent that whole night crying, this is true,” said the Greek. “What surprised me the most was the emotion I felt the next morning. One thinks that having unloaded at night would be enough, but it was amazing to see me crying that morning while having breakfast. All the beautiful moments that we spent together began to happen to me, that is the most beautiful thing that I take away after sharing with him a moment as special as his retirement. I hope one day I can have a retirement like this”.

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