‘Close to my heart’ – Felix Auger-Aliassime reveals what Roger Federer said to him in Laver Cup farewell

Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime has revealed what his idol, Roger Federer, said to him after his final professional tennis match at the Laver Cup.

Matteo Berrettini gave Team Europe a 4-2 lead over Team World after beating Auger-Aliassime 7-6(11) 4-6 10-7 early on day two at the O2 Arena in London.

But Auger-Aliassime was certainly not downbeat as he chatted with Eurosport about the incredible impact Federer has had on his career and how fortunate he feels to be a part of the huge occasion.

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“It was funny to hold him up when we celebrated him like the champion he is,” Auger-Aliassime told Eurosport.

“It was very emotional – good emotions – and obviously, you reminisce and remember all the moments that you watched him play in huge matches and Grand Slams. Amazing points, amazing matches he has played.

“To see his greatness one last time, it was a pleasure to be there in person. As a kid, I’m still very young and just remember watching him and idolising him. It was emotional for me too.

“I felt all the emotions, and to see him so genuinely touched and Rafa and Novak and his whole family. It is special, truly special.

“It just proves how big of an impact he had on the sport.

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“You know, being the nice person that he is, he took the time to give everyone a hug around the court, all the players.

“He just said ‘I wish you a great career, Felix’ and just that moment, that phrase, was truly special for me.

“I will keep it really close to my heart because it was his night. He still took the time to wish me the best in my career going forward, and I wished him the best for what is to come, thanking him for everything he did for the sport and sport in general. Also, for the way he inspired the youth, it is amazing.

“If I have the opportunity to thank him again I will. He deserves all the praise and all the good words. It is not just to sound nice, it is because he is just a humble person, generous and kind. That is how he treated me from the first time I met him at the age of 17.

“He invited me to train and we shared some good moments on the court and outside of it. He has always been really generous with his time and with his kindness. Above all, that is how I will remember his career.”

Watch Federer receive emotional welcome day after final match at Laver Cup

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