Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: A rivalry for the ages 

A great rivalry makes a sport more interesting, and there is no denying that. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have single-handedly divided the football world into two halves. Every sport needs a classic rivalry to make the game better, and Tennis has its own in the name of Federer and Nadal. However, Federer and Nadal are a different breed of rivals, unlike competitors in any other sport. While the two legends used to go for each other's throats on the tennis court, the world saw both of them shredding tears together when Roger Federer played his last official tennis match in September 2022. Arguably, the two greatest tennis players of the modern generation re-defined athleticism, longevity and rivalry. They made each other better while entertaining millions of their fans. The tussle, which went on for 18 years, ended in 2022, but it has given the world of tennis so much to talk about. Let's have a look at one of the greatest opponents in the history of tennis, the "Federer-Nadal" story.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: A rivalry for the ages

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played each other for the first time in 2004 in the third round of the Miami Masters. A 17-year-old Rafael Nadal, who was ranked 34 at that time, managed to beat no.1 ranked Roger Federer in straight sets. Rafael Nadal became an overnight sensation, and that's how it all began. Out of the 40 matches played between them, 20 were played on a hard court, 16 on clay, and a total of 4 matches on grass. Nadal leads Federer (14–2) on clay and (8–6) on outdoor hard court. Federer leads Nadal (3–1) on grass and (5–1) on an indoor hard court. Nadal leads Federer 3-1 at the Australian Open and 6–0 at the French Open, while Federer has the upper hand at Wimbledon (3-1). Nadal and Federer have faced each other a total of 14 times in majors, with Nadal leading 10–4. Rafael Nadal ranks no.1, while Roger Federer ranks no.3 on the men's all-time list for the most major singles titles. Rafael Nadal has won a total of 22 major titles, while Roger Federer has claimed 20 to his name. Novak Djokovic is second on the list with 21 titles. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have shared a total of 11 consecutive majors between them, from the 2005 French Open to the 2007 US open. Federer and Nadal are the only duos to finish as the top two ranked players for six consecutive calendar years on the ATP Tour, from 2005 to 2010. The 2008 Wimbledon final game between Federer and Nadal is touted as the greatest match to be ever played in the history of Tennis. 2005 Miami Open final, 2006 Italian Open final, 2007 Wimbledon final, and 2009 Australian Open final are some of the other matches between these two, which are considered to be the epitome of Tennis. As Nadal won the first match between the two, Roger Federer won the last match played against the Spaniard in the Semi-finals of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. It can be rightly said the greatest tennis rivalry on earth was started by Nadal but ended by Federer. Poetic.

What did Rafael Nadal say about Roger Federer’s retirement? “Someone I have admired, who I have rivalled, and also I have shared many beautiful things on and off the court was leaving. In that sense, all those moments, those feelings you have before playing a final of a grand slam, of an important tournament, everything that was in the air before those matches. It was different from other matches. You know you’re not going to live that again, and a part of my life left with him . It was also the emotion of saying goodbye to someone who has been so important to our sport.” My time will come when it has to come. “I’m quite prepared for my next life outside tennis. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for me beyond what will be an adaptation to the changes. My life has things equally or more important than tennis.”

What did Roger Federer say about Rafael Nadal after his retirement? "It showed once again what we mean to each other and how much respect we have for each other. The feeling of having a tough rivalry but still showing: It's just tennis - also a sign that both wanted to set. "It was an incredible effort from Rafa, and I will never forget what he did for me in London."

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer (all matches)

2019 Wimbledon (winner: Roger Federer)

2019 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2019 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2017 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2017 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2017 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2017 Australian Open (winner: Roger Federer)

2015 Basel Switzerland (winner: Roger Federer)

2014 Australian Open (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2013 ATP Finals (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2013 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2013 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2013 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2012 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2012 Australian Open (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2011 ATP Finals (winner: Roger Federer)

2011 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2011 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2011 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2010 ATP Finals (winner: Roger Federer)

2010 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2009 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2009 Australian Open (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2008 Wimbledon (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2008 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2008 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2008 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2007 Tennis Masters Cup (winner: Roger Federer)

2007 Wimbledon (winner: Roger Federer)

2007 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2007 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2007 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2006 Tennis Masters Cup (winner: Roger Federer)

2006 Wimbledon (winner: Roger Federer)

2006 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2006 ATP Masters (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2006 ATP Masters (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2006 Dubai (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2005 Roland Garros (winner: Rafael Nadal)

2005 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Roger Federer)

2004 ATP Masters 1000 (winner: Rafael Nadal)


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