Roger Federer surprised many in the sports world when he announced his retirement on Thursday morning. Federer's retirement decision sparked many reactions from athletes and pundits, though one of the biggest voices in tennis chimed in with a special message for his longtime rival and friend: Rafael Nadal. Nadal shared his heartwarming message for Federer on his Instagram page.


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A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

In a post on his Instagram page, Rafael Nadal said the following:

Dear Roger, my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come… it’s a sad day for me personally and for sports people around the world. I said it to you when we spoke and now it’s here. It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”

Nadal went on to wish Roger Federer happiness with his wife and family, finishing up his message by saying he would see him in London at the Laver Cup, which will be the Swiss tennis legend's final ATP event.

Rafael Nadal emerged as Roger Federer's first great rival in the early 2000s, as his topspin-heavy forehand proved to be the perfect foil to Fed's one-handed backhand.

Together, Federer and Nadal formed one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, meeting 40 times, with the latter holding a 24-16 edge- including 14 wins in finals.

Perhaps more importantly, the two became friends during their time on the Tour. That's why Rafael Nadal made sure to send a special retirement message Roger Federer's way.