Rafael Nadal is counted among one of the greatest tennis players to ever walk in a tennis arena along with his long time friend and rival Roger Federer and Serbian star Novak Djokovic. On Thursday, as the Spaniard celebrates his 35th birthday, we take a look at his long-standing rivalry with his frenemy Federer. The term ‘frenemy’ comes from the blending of two oxymoronic words — friend and enemy. It is often used to describe the on-field rivalry between two close friends in sports.
Moving on to the Federer–Nadal rivalry:
Federer and Nadal are counted as each other’s greatest rivals in modern-day tennis. The duo has faced each other 40 times with Nadal winning 24 of those encounters. Federer has emerged victorious 16 times. They have also faced each other in 24 finals, with the Spaniard leading 14-10. Out of those 40 games, 20 were played on hard court, where Federer leads 11-9.
However, Nadal totally dominates Federer when it comes to clay. They have met each other 16 times on clay with Nadal winning 14 games. They have met four times on grass with Federer leading the way 3-1.
Federer and Nadal have met 14 times in Grand Slam with the latter leading 10-4. While Nadal has dominated Federer at the French Open (6-0) and Australian Open (3-1), Federer leads (3–1) at Wimbledon. Interestingly, the duo has never met in the US Open.
The duo jointly holds the record for most Grand Slam titles in men’s record – 20 major champions’ trophies under their belt. Both Nadal and Federer dominated the Grand Slam event from the 2005 French Open to the 2007 US Open as they won 11 consecutive titles. They also won six consecutive Grand Slam title on two occasions — from the 2008 French Open to 2009 Wimbledon and from the 2017 Australian Open to the 2018 French Open. Nadal and Federer featured in every French Open and Wimbledon final from 2006 to 2008.
Nadal and Federer’s marathon 2008 Wimbledon final, which lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, is still considered as one of the greatest game in tennis history by many. Nadal won the five-set thriller against Federer 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7.
Their most recent game against each other was in the semifinals of the 2019 Wimbledon, which Federer won.
Both Nadal and Federer have won 20 Grand Slam each. While the Swiss great had won8 Wimbledon, 6 Australia Open, 5 US Open and 1 French Open title;Nadal has 13 French Open, 4 US Open, 2 Wimbledon and 1 Australian Open in his kitty.
However, what makes their rivalry even better is that they support each other and Federer’s statement after Nadal equalled his 20 Slam title record is a testimony of their peculiar friendship.