Rafael Nadal on Roger Federer: I admire him a lot

Rafael Nadal has great admiration for Roger Federer, saying they have always had a “good relationship” despite fighting for tennis’ biggest prizes.

While Nadal was forced to retire from the season-opening Grand Slam, the Australian Open, Federer secured the title in a five-set thriller against Marin Cilic.

That not only means he holds three of the four Grand Slam titles, but also extended his record for the most in the mens’ draw.

“It’s admirable now as much as before, we do not figure now what he is and what he did,” Nadal told tennisworldusa.org.

“I admire him a lot.

“We have a good relationship, we fight for important things, but you shouldn’t forget that this is a sport and the moments we lived together made us appreciate each other.”

With 20 titles, Federer is four ahead of Nadal with Novak Djokovic sitting on 12.

“There was a generation able to win a lot, Federer, me, Djokovic, (Andy) Murray, (Stan) Wawrinka,” said Nadal.

“If we look at our sport’s history, it had never happened that three players would win much for a lot of years.”

He does, however, believe that the next generation of stars in Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov could each add a few Grand Slam titles to their tally.

“Zverev, Kyrgios, (Denis) Shapovalov are very strong and they will definitely win several Slams, it will depend on how much they are willing to improve and breakthrough. Their potential and talent is big.”