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Nadal, Federer team up to win doubles match

Europe’s Rafael Nadal, right, watches his teammate Roger Federer, left, returning a ball to World’s Jack Sock and Sam Querrey during their Laver Cup doubles tennis match in Prague, Czech Republic. Nadal and Federer won. (AP)

Europe’s Rafael Nadal, right, watches his teammate Roger Federer, left, returning a ball to World’s Jack Sock and Sam Querrey during their Laver Cup doubles tennis match in Prague, Czech Republic. Nadal and Federer won. (AP)

PRAGUE (AFP) – Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer took Team Europe to within two wins of lifting the Laver Cup on Saturday after they played doubles together for the first time, but ruled out a full-time partnership on the tour.

The world’s highest ranking duo handed Team Europe, skippered by Bjorn Borg, a 9-3 lead over Team World, captained by John McEnroe, after two days of action in Prague.

After Nadal and Federer had won their singles rubbers, all eyes at Prague’s sold-out O2 Arena were then on the two legends who played on the same side of the net for the first time in careers which have stretched the best part of two decades.

They started the doubles against Sam Querrey and Jack Sock on a high, earning a break in the first set to win 6-4.

They visibly enjoyed the experience, with Federer laughing off a massive air shot halfway through the set.

However, they were in far more serious mood in the second set as both lost their serve, allowing the American pair to level with a 6-1 win.

Much to their relief, the world’s top two players, with 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them, regained their composure in time to sweep their rivals 10/5 in a super tie-break.

But they both denied planning a future as a doubles pair, saying it was “not a good idea.’’

“I don’t want to kill your expectations,’’ Federer told Nadal.

Nadal, 31, said he will remember the night he teamed up with his old rival and close friend for the first time.

“It was unforgettable for both of us after the history we have behind us as rivals. Something we really enjoyed a lot,’’ said the Spanish star.

“To have the possibility to have Roger next to me is a huge privilege… something I wanted to make happen at some point and today I made it happen.’’

“He said it all,’’ chuckled 36-year-old Federer.

“For me personally it was a great moment too. After this we’ll be rivals again, thanks God or unfortunately, but… this was something very special.’’

“This is a memory for the rest of the lifetime.’’

“My last doubles was so long ago that I hardly remembered how to react at the net,’’ said Federer.

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