Zidane pays heartfelt tribute to Federer

Getty Images for Laver Cup

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The Swiss superstar contested his final match on Saturday (AEST) in London, as he bowed out at the age of 41, accepting knee trouble in recent years would not allow him to carry on.

Zidane's last match as a player famously ended in a headbutt, a red card and crushing disappointment in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, as France lost out to Italy on penalties in Berlin.

That was a far cry from the celebratory scenes at the O2 where 20-time grand slam winner Federer exited in a hail of adulation and high emotion, as the man from Basle broke down in a flood of tears on court.

The poignancy came after Federer lost alongside Rafael Nadal in a Laver Cup doubles clash with Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, a low-stakes occasion compared to Zidane's swansong.

Both Zidane and Federer played their sport with maverick and artistic tendencies that set them apart from many of their peers, while also winning a stack of trophies.

Zidane had two spells as Real Madrid boss, hanging up his boots after a playing spell at Santiago Bernabeu, and he hopes there are great opportunities awaiting Federer too.

"Today you are stepping into another world. I wish you a second part of life as rich as the first," Zidane wrote on Instagram.

"Thank you Roger, you made the whole world dream! And you remained profoundly the same. Thank you Roger, the great class."


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