Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
The most recent tennis rivalry has literally left spectators gasping for breath at the prowess and promise of two of the greatest tennis players of all time – the Master, Roger Federer and his Nemesis, the fabulous Rafael Nadal!
Nadal Topples Federer as the Number One
This intense rivalry culminated in August 2008 when the young Spanish pretender to the throne, Rafael Nadal, toppled his Swiss rival from the top of the ATP ranking for the first time in over four and a half years. Although Federer clung onto the number one spot for as long as possible the young Spaniard, known for his blistering stroke making on clay, has been knocking on the door virtually since his first showdown against Federer way back in 2004.
Contrary to what most avid tennis fans believe, Nadal has really dominated since he took Federer on as a seventeen year old rank outsider in the third round of the Miami Masters, and won. He has always had the upper hand as far as head-to-head statistics go, having gotten the better of Federer every single season, apart from 2007, where Federer won three of the five outings.
The one single factor that has kept this rivalry so very intense is both players have a preferred surface different to that of their chief opponent. Roger Federer has, until recently, been omnipotent on grass and, to a lesser extent, hard court, whereas Rafael Nadal has emerged as one of the most talented clay court technicians of the modern era.
It is important to remember that the lion’s share of matches contested between these two great sportsmen have been on clay, Nadal’s home turf, so to speak, and this has had a marked impact on the head-to-head stats. But it was Federer, after all, who ended Nadal’s awesome 81 match winning streak on clay!
Federer Denied Career Grand Slam
Nadal has consistently denied Roger Federer the elusive career grand slam by winning all four of the French Open titles contested during their joint tenure and it is unlikely the out of form Federer will ever be able to tame the King of Clay in the future.
Federer, on the other hand, has won 11 grand slam titles and until 2008 has been the conqueror of Wimbledon, Melbourne and New York on a regular basis, denying Nadal sought after grand slams.
Tennis punters will be hoping Federer can lift himself out of the slump he has been in for most of the season, triggered by glandular fever picked up at the end of the 2007 season but with Raffa in rampant form, winning the French Open, Wimbledon and lifting Olympic gold at Beijing, odds are Federer will gracefully hang up his racquet!