Federer and Nadal’s tears during their farewell match tell us that it’s fine for men to cry

“I would do it all over again. It’s been great. It’s been so much fun. It’s been amazing. Thank you, everybody,” Federer said in his goodbye speech.

It was a scene that said more about sportsmanship and teamwork on the court than any impassioned statement could. One of sports’ greatest rivalries came to an emotional end on Friday at the Laver Cup in London, as tennis legend Roger Federer said farewell to his career with one final doubles play for Team Europe alongside Rafael Nadal. The duo put up a brave attempt against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock at the O2 Arena, falling short 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9, but it was a memorable night in tennis history as Federer sobbed in the face of an amazing outpouring of love and support.

“It was never supposed to be that way,” Federer said in his farewell speech, reports PEOPLE. “I was just happy to play tennis and spend time with my friends, really. And then I ended up here. It’s been a perfect journey. I would do it all over again. It’s been great. It’s been so much fun. It’s been amazing. Thank you, everybody. I’ve had so many people cheer me on, and you guys here tonight mean the world.” Federer wasn’t the only one who sobbed as his career as a professional tennis player came to an end. On what he later described as a terrible night for him as well, his great rival, Rafael Nadal, sobbed alongside the new retiree.

“When Roger leaves the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments he has been next or in front me in important moments of my life,” Nadal said, reports CNN. “So has been emotional (to) see the family, see all the people. Yeah, difficult to describe. But [an] amazing moment.” In the years since their first match at the Miami Masters in March 2004, the famous duo has won a total of 42 grand slams, with Federer winning 20 and Nadal winning 22.

“The last two days have been tough to say the least,” Federer said in his post-match press conference last week, reports The Guardian. “Thankfully in moments I totally forgot about it, slept great, everything was wonderful, I could enjoy it, I feel. And because of that, I think I will be able to have a better recollection of how it went. Because if it’s all just stress throughout and I want it to be only perfect, I know I will remember half of it. Because I felt the way I felt, I feel like I have dealt with my retirement strongly for the last month.” He also expressed gratitude to his wife, Mirka Federer.

The 41-year-old announced his retirement earlier this month, reminding supporters that the Laver Cup will be his final match after a 24-year career. “As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full and competitive form,” he said in a video shared on Twitter. “But I also know my body’s capacities and limits and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I’ve played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years.”