Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, it’s clear to see how they bonded over their common passion for tennis. It’s not to be disputed that Nadal is a great tennis player, one of the greatest since Pete Sampras. A five-time grand slam champion, the Spaniard has never suffered from winning one round all season. He’s consistently one of the favorites in big events such as Wimbledon, and has reached the last four at the most prestigious of them.
Federer, on the other hand, is a two-time grand slam champion. He’s one of the most decorated players in history, but the one you never think about as a possible candidate for being an “elite” player. To Federer, the game is an extension of his life, and that’s the reason why he will always defend their friendship.
On the eve of Wimbledon, two of tennis’ most dominant players sat down for an interview, both of whom are now among the top five in the world’s rankings. The focus was on their tennis lives, and even though the interview turned out to be quite pleasant, there was one moment when it was easy to see that their connection has transcended the court.
The last time Federer and Nadal met up in competition was in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open in 2016, where Federer emerged victorious. Federer had just been beaten by Roger Federer by 7-6(5) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. They met up again the following year, at the 2017 Dubai Open, where Federer was able to win by 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 7-5.
Since then, the two have met five more times in competitive matches. They’ve competed in two more tournaments in the same calendar year, at Linz and in Tokyo, and also competed at the Australian Open last year where Federer is now top seed. Federer and Nadal have met four times in non-competitive singles matches, the last of which was last September at Wimbledon where Federer finally succumbed to Nadal’s brilliance, and they won the match in just 50 minutes, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Over the years, Nadal and Federer have always been a match