Many tennis players have played each other in epic matches, but the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is the most iconic of all. The two professional tennis players are among the greatest in this sport. With numerous major titles, records, and ranks, it’s no wonder that their matches are highly anticipated by tennis fans around the world.

How has the Federer-Nadal rivalry impacted the world of tennis? Let’s break down how each player stands in their performance, as well as their most memorable matches in the history of tennis.

Federer vs Nadal: 20 Most Epic Matches In Tennis's Most Epic Rivalry
Photo on LA Times

Who Is Roger Federer?

Swiss tennis player Roger Federer is one of the most well-known athletes in the world of sports, especially in tennis. He is ranked as the world’s No. 3 in men’s singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has the most number of career in men’s singles Grand Slam championships in tennis history, with a total of 20.

Federer has been nicknamed FedExpress, the Swiss Maestro, or simply Maestro. He began playing tennis at a very young age, bagging the Wimbledon Junior Championships at 18. He currently has 8 Wimbledon titles, 5 US Open titles, 6 Australian Open titles, and 1 French Open title. Garnering 1,200 wins in the Open Era in addition to his ATP titles and records, Federer’s tennis career looks high and mighty.

Skills and athleticism make an excellent tennis player, but Federer is innately talented to boot. His all-court game involves powerful shot-making and agile footwork. He can effortlessly move around the court, and his hand-eye coordination and reaction time are on-point.

Who Is Rafael Nadal?

Ranking No. 2 in men’s singles tennis by the ATP, Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal is a name known worldwide by tennis fans and sports enthusiasts. He is the 7th male player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam, and the 2nd to complete the singles Career Golden Slam.

Growing up in a sports-oriented family has greatly contributed to Nadal’s success. He began playing tennis at the age of 4, with his uncle coaching him on his professional tour. He has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, 12 French Open titles, 4 US Open titles, 2 Wimbledon titles, and 1 Australian Open title. He also won 82 outdoor titles in the Open Era, 81 of which are consecutive match wins on clay court.

Nadal is known for his aggressive, behind-the-baseline playing style. His swift footwork, strong forehand, and court coverage make him an unparalleled tennis sensation. He specializes in playing on a clay court since he has been extremely successful on this type of surface.

Federer-Nadal Rivalry

Dubbed as one of the most intense matches in the history of tennis, the rivalry between Ferrer and Nadal has been going on for more than a decade.

It started during the Miami Masters in 2004, where Nadal won against Federer on the hardcourt. Their second match happened at Miami again, with Federer winning this time. However, in the succeeding matches, until the Roland Garros held in France in 2006, Nadal triumphed against his biggest opponent. Their matches went on, until recently this 2019 at the Wimbledon, where Federer won.

They have played against each other for a total of 40 times, with Nadal leading head-to-head at 24–16. Among the matches, 20 have been on hard court, 16 on clay, and 4 on the grass. Their 2008 Wimbledon match was considered by tennis analysts and enthusiasts as their greatest match ever.

Federer has a total of 20 Grand Slams, while Nadal has 19. Tennis fans will see whether Nadal will overtake Federer’s number of major titles next year. With the ATP Cup 2020 and the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, everyone will be able to watch who will triumph next year. Federer assures his supporters that 2019 wasn’t his last season, so there will be something for fans to look forward to.

Top 10 Best Federer Vs. Nadal Matches

1. Wimbledon Final (England, 2008)

Every Federer-Nadal follower will agree that their 2008 Wimbledon Final match was the best among their 40 matches. Nadal won after 4 hours and 48 minutes. The game ensued despite the rain delays, making it worth it both for Nadal and his supporters.

2. Internazionali BNL D’Italia Final (Rome, 2006)

It was a close fight and one of the longest matches between the two during the ATP Masters 1000 in Italy, Rome. In the end, Nadal triumphed with a score of 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5).

3. Wimbledon Final (London, 2007)

After being hailed as the world’s No. 2 in men’s singles, Nadal is over the moon in his tennis career. He also won his previous match with Federer in France that same year, but Federer emerged as a victor in the Wimbledon final in 2007. The final score was at 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2.

4. Australian Open Final (Australia, 2009)

Federer was looking forward to winning his 14th Grand Slam in the Australian Open last 2009, but Nadal smashed his hopes down. Nadal won with a score of 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2.

5. ATP Masters 1000 (Miami, 2005)

The game started with Nadal performing well and was a promising victor in this match. However, he dropped four sets in a row to Federer but managed to go to a tie-breaker at the final set. In the end, Federer won with 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1.

6. Australian Open Final (Australia, 2017)

Federer was already gaining the upper hand when this match started. Nadal brought in his best as well and put up an equal fight. However, it was Federer who won in the end and earned his 18th Grand Slam.

7. ATP Masters 1000 (Monaco, 2006)

Proving that he is indeed the master of tennis on the clay court, Nadal dethroned Federer from his previous victory in China that same year. He won with a final score of 6-4.

8. Roland Garros (France, 2011)

Fresh from winning two straight matches against Federer in Florida and Spain, Nadal graces the clay-court again and wins against his biggest opponent. His final score after the match was 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1.

9. Tennis Masters Cup (China, 2007)

Known for his expertise while playing on the hardcourt, Federer beat Nadal during the Tennis Masters Cup held in China. The Swiss tennis player won with a final score of 6-4, 6-1.

10. Swiss Indoors Basel (Switzerland, 2015)

Federer did not let his country down when he played against Nadal during the Swiss Indoors Basel in 2015. Held in Switzerland, Federer won with a final score of 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.


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