Roger Federer Vs Rafael Nadal rivalry is deemed to be one of the greatest in the history of tennis. Over the span of 13 years, both these players have changed the perspective of the people towards tennis, adding entertainment and class to tennis in their own way.
While Nadal enjoys the success of 15 Grand Slam titles to his name, Roger Federer is by far the most successful male player with a record 19 Grand Slam titles to his name. But when it comes over to head-to-head matches, the Spaniard has dominated Federer with 23 wins from their 37 meetings of which 9 wins come from their Grand Slam meetings.
Let’s take a look at this arch, yet beautiful rivalry between the 2 of the best players of the world over the years.
2004-06 – THE BEGINNING OF THE RIVALRY
It was March 2004, the day Nadal and Federer first went on head to head against each other at Miami. Nadal aged 17 was taking his baby-steps in the tournament while Federer, aged 22, was a multiple Grand Slam winner. Federer had already added the Wimbledon to his list of Grand Slam titles and was progressing at an alarming rate.
Nadal was just new to the game though he left a mark on the game triumphing 6-3 6-3 at Miami against the Swiss. It was almost a year later at the French Open, when the two met in the semis on. Nadal was celebrating his 19th birthday and coming off from some great wins as well. That day, once again the Swiss fell prey to Nadal’s challenging game. Winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, Nadal expanded his 17 match unbeaten streak on clay to 18 with that win whilst ending up winning the French Open 2005 title that year.
By 2006, the two had established themselves properly with the flow of game and seemed to have distributed their rule over the different courts. With Federer winning all the grass and hard court matches, Nadal was a powerhouse – impossible to beat on clay.
The fact was proved when Nadal and Federer played each other on the dirt, all resulting in Nadal win leading him to 3 clay court tournament finals, including the French Open. But as they say, grass is home to Federer, the Swiss dominated Nadal in the 4 set win at Wimbledon that year to lift the title. It was the first time that Nadal had appeared in the Wimbledon finals.
Also Read: Rafael Nadal at US Open – Best Wins
Federer wins: 3
Nadal wins: 6
Federer Grand Slams: 9
Nadal Grand Slams: 2
2007-09 – THE HISTORY MAKING ERA
By the time it was 2007, Nadal and Federer had settled and stabilized themselves for what was the longest running sequence on the ATP charts. Since 2005 to 2010, the two had bestowed themselves upon the top 2 spots, taking tennis to a whole new level.
It was practically impossible to beat these two stars as Federer exhibited his dominance on grass and Nadal on the clay while they shared the hard courts success. The pair battled each other in 5 grand slam finals in the 2 year period, 2007-09, with 4 of the 5 being conquered by the Spaniard. The French Open was the fortress of Nadal. Having beaten Federer 4 times on the French dirt, the 2008 final between them was Nadal’s most ferocious wins over the Swiss.
He won the match 6-1, 6-3, 6-0, crushing Federer in an embarrassing manner. Nadal was increasing his hold over the French Open like an Anaconda holding its prey.
But this wasn’t it. The pair later met at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, with Federer being hailed as the King of Tennis. The top 2 players were about to play each other at the Centre Court in what is called as one of the biggest and entertaining finals in Wimbledon history.
With Federer entering the court dressed like a gentleman in a cool blazer, Nadal played the game in his trademark 3/4th shorts with hair messed up like a pirate. Nadal played Federer, in what was one of the greatest performances of all time. The match was a complete package, entertainment, excitement and thrill in each and every shot played.
After a 4 hour 48 minutes play, the King was finally conquered upon in his territory as Nadal prevailed as the 2008 Wimbledon champion with his maiden title win. Though unfortunately most of the 2009 session was plagued by Nadal’s knee injury, that led Federer win his only French Open title and regain his Wimbledon territory as well, breaking the record of most grand slam titles won, previously set by Pete Sampras.
The 2009 Australian Open final and 2007 Wimbledon finals were also memorable where the two contested over 5 set battles with Nadal winning the former and Federer bagging the later.
Federer wins: 4
Nadal wins: 7
Federer Grand Slams: 6
Nadal Grand Slams: 4
Also Read: Roger Federer at US Open – Top Wins