Roger Federer already throwing himself back into tennis as he coaches Berrettini to a win


Federer’s 24-year career came to an emotional end on day one of the Laver Cup, as the 41-year-old partnered Rafael Nadal for one last doubles match where they narrowly lost to Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the early hours of Saturday morning. The 103-time title winner was in tears as he gave a heartfelt interview to the crowd before being joined on court by his family, and left the O2 Arena well after 2:30am after completing his media commitments.

But on the first day of his retirement, he was straight back into the tennis world as he joined Team Europe from the sidelines and took up the role of coach to teammate Berrettini as the Italian battled for more than two hours to earn two vital points to pull the squad ahead 4-2 against Team World. With the world No 15 trailing by a break at 4-5 in the second set, Federer marched to the bench to advise Berrettini.

As the 2021 Wimbledon finalist could be heard asking for salt, Federer started by cracking a joke as he laughed: “So what are you looking for? Socks? Salt? And pepper? Salt, what for the salad or what are you?”

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But the former world No 1 then got serious as he offered Berrettini some valuable advice, which proved successful as the 26-year-old dropped the second set but won in the match tiebreak by 10 points to seven. “Just a couple things,” he told the Italian.

“When you go back and return on the deuce side, I would not roll it too much because this court doesn’t give you much bounce. Don’t like smash it but just hit, let it fly a little bit more so it skids a little bit. A little bit flatter like this he has to check it a little bit more, he cannot just go wherever he wants, he has to be more careful. That’s the one thing.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion then reiterated some advice that second alternate Cameron Norrie had offered Berrettini, adding: “And also what Cam said, and I agree, is don’t go right away inside-in. Go inside-out, check, see where to go, inside-out again, check.

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“Unless you think ‘okay, I can really, really hurt him inside-in’, I know you always feel like you can but just don’t right away muscle it.” After the match, Berrettini confessed that he felt the pressure to not “screw up” while having Federer in his corner.

And the seven-time title winner also revealed that he struggled to sleep last night following Federer’s retirement, as he was left in disbelief that he got to share the moment with his childhood idol. “Yesterday, I couldn’t sleep,” he said in his on-court interview. “One of the reasons why was because he was crying on my shoulder and I was like: ‘Is this real? Roger Federer?'”



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