LIVE: Federer and Nadal play Tiafoe and Sock at the Laver Cup

LIVE: Federer and Nadal play Tiafoe and Sock at the Laver Cup

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Ivan Ljubicic, one of tennis’ most utilitarian figures, has rarely been mentioned in recent years, preferring to focus his communication skills on his coaching career with long-time friend and rival-turned-employer Roger Federer.

The stunning 43-year-old Croatian Ljubić and the 41-year-old Swiss superstar Federer have known each other since childhood and play in a minor professional tennis league on the satellite tour. They soon developed a strong relationship.

“Sometimes we just clicked and clicked,” Lubicic said.

Although Federer won 13 times in 16 matches on the main tour, they became close friends like their wives. When Federer parted ways with one of his coaches, Stefan Edberg, at the end of the 2015 season, Federer asked the retired Ljubicic to fill the void with longtime coach Severn Luthi.

“What kind of hesitation do you mean there?” Lubick said in an interview from London on Thursday. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

At that time, Federer was 34, Ljubicic was older than he was at the time of retirement at 33, tired of the daily drudgery needed to maintain sufficient operation of his aching body in Pro Tennis. Federer did not win a major title for more than three years, but Ljubić was sure that there would be more in him.

In the year 36 tennis age.

“Those two years were amazing,” Lubibic said. “It was something we never knew in our wildest dreams that we were number 1 in the world on the 18th one stage because it wasn’t a goal. Because to be 1st you have to play a lot and win a lot and our plan was to plan big tournaments and it just started rolling right now.

But in the year The momentum stalled in 2018 when Novak Djokovic emerged from an extended tail spin. The following year, Federer made a brilliant comeback on grass and held two match points against Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final, failing to convert in the set and losing in five games. It was a shockingly sudden plot for a man on the brink of a major breakthrough, but Lubicic said Federer and his team handled it philosophically.

“It’s obviously hurtful,” Ljubicic said. “Personally, I still can’t believe how he didn’t win that game today. Not just because of game points, but just in the whole match. He was playing very well and could have won the set he won in that final. To be honest, I think about 2017 a lot. In comparison to me, the feelings of happiness of 17 are much greater than frustration of 19. And when you’ve played over 1,500 matches in a career like this, it’s clear that everything happens.

That career ends now. Federer has confirmed that he will play long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal in a doubleheader for Team Europe in the Laver Cup final on Friday night.

Lubicic traveled from his home in Monaco to London for the occasion. It will be Federer’s first match at Wimbledon in more than a year since losing in straight sets to Hubert Hurkac in the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals due to an ailing right knee.

The past three seasons have been plagued by pain, frustration and forced breaks in the game, testing even Federer’s passion for the sport. “It was very difficult because even when he was playing he wasn’t 100 percent,” Lubicic said.

“That was unfortunate, and now it comes back to the class at Wimbledon in 2021, and maybe people can’t see the mistake, but for those of us who spend days and hours on court, we can see that we never practiced.” Completely. So, it was tough, and the decision to have another surgery, we knew he was going into the unknown, and unfortunately it turned out to be the last Wimbledon and he wasn’t there for the last match against Hurcak. Added. “But what can you do? It is what it is, and we’re certainly now celebrating a remarkable feat in London.”

Only one more match to go. “It’s not going to be easy, I can tell you that,” Lubicic said with a laugh. “He’s hitting the ball really well, I can tell you. So I’m not worried from that point of view. He will be fine. It’s more emotional.”

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