Roger Federer and rival Rafael have had mutual off-court respect and a competitive rivalry with each other for a long time.
“I saw him grow, right in front of my eyes,” Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press last year. “I always feel like he’s one of the guys from tennis – players – that I could call up and, if I told him something, it would be a secret between the two of us. And I appreciate that we were able to build a relationship like that.”
The pair have had an unforgettable collection of court contests including nine Grand Slam finals. Also Read– Rafael Nadal talks rivalry with Roger Federer
“We went in phases a little bit. In the beginning, he was so extremely shy and he was so – how do you say? – like, looking up to me, that he just said, ‘Whatever you say, Roger, I agree with you. Because you’re so important to the game. And I know you want the right thing,’” Federer told the AP. “And over time, he became himself, the dominant player he became, and he started to build his own strong character. … And then, of course, the rivalry started building.”
Rafael Nadal VS Roger Federer
Meetings: 40 (Nadal, 24-16); Grand Slam Finals: 9 (Nadal, 6-3)
Highlights: Federer won three of four Wimbledon matches, but the famous matchup is Nadal’s 9-7 fifth-set victory in the 2008 final; Nadal’s 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win in that year’s French Open final, the most lopsided Grand Slam loss of Federer’s career; Federer’s comeback from 3-1 in the fifth at the 2017 Australian Open, their most recent Slam final.
Roger Federer 39, hopes to play against Rafael Nadal again in 2021 after recovering from a knee injury.
“I want to come back healthy. We’ll see how long that lasts,” he told German weekly newspaper Die Zeit.