Nadal and Federer to have football impact as Bonucci makes request

Roger Federer: The fans are the centre of everything

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The legacy of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s epic rivalry needs to serve as an inspiration to football players, according to Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci. In emotional scenes, the two tennis icons shared a court for the final time on Friday night, teaming up to play doubles for Team Europe at the Laver Cup.

There was to no storybook ending as the Team World pairing of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe prevailed in a thrilling tie-break decider, and afterwards, an emotional Federer bid farewell over the microphone. Nadal was also clearly struggling, breaking down in tears as his long-term rival spoke.

In an image that duly went viral, the all-time greats were also seen crying as they sat next to each other court-side. And Bonucci, 35, took to Instagram to label the photo a “lesson,” and advised other athletes to take note.

“Not just in sports, but rather a life lesson,” he continued. “We should watch it every day. Thank you, because even when you’re sitting on a bench, you continue to be examples to follow. Because friendship between rivals, respect for one another, those hands that you would never want to leave are a lesson for every generation.”

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The defender, who won 117 caps for Italy, seemed to strike a chord with fans, with the post racking up more than 162,000 likes in under two days. And comments from the star’s 5.7 million followers were favourable, with @danilopestich1897 writing:”This shot is simply gorgeous. Two unreachable legends on and off the field. Thank you for everything Roger.”

@juventina.onesta added: “We dreamed so much together with them,” while @alessandrostucchi implied the same kind of bond between is a distant concept in football: “Unfortunately in soccer between Messi and Ronaldo this will never happen. Fedal, another world.”

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Federer and Nadal have won 42 Grand Slam titles between them, and have been widely credited for transcending their sport. The Swiss magician also spent 310 weeks of his career as the world No 1.

Juventus and Bonucci meanwhile, could do with a source of inspiration after their indifferent start to the Serie A season. They lie eighth, seven points off leaders Napoli.

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