Rafael Nadal says the ‘extreme’ relationship he once had with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic is now over.
The trio have dominated the ATP Tour for 16 years, having to constantly out-do each other in order to win the biggest titles.
However, that ‘extreme competitiveness’, as Nadal calls it, has now given way to a much more relaxed atmosphere between the players, with them all now happy to do each other favours.
“When you are younger, it is true that you take rivalry and competitiveness to the extreme,” Nadal told EFE while launching his new academy in Kuwait this week.
“When you are a little older, the dream to win and get things is the same and luckily, among us, the relationship is and, in most of the time we have shared on the circuit, has been good.
“With both Novak and Roger, as with Andy. With all of us who have had a more ‘lively’ rivalry, if you can say so; Now it’s more latent and the things we do show it.”
All three players run their own charitable foundations, which involve organising exhibition events.
Nadal is about to play Federer in the Match in AfricA for the Swiss star’s foundation, but it’s far from the only time they have helped each other out.
“Novak was with me in Kazakhstan, at the end of the year, playing an exhibition for my foundation. I was in Milan two years ago playing for his.
“Now I’m going to South Africa to play an exhibition for Roger’s foundation and the reality is that I am delighted.
“Federer was at the opening of my Academy in Manacor and the truth is that we understand that it is essential to help each other
“Maintaining a positive relationship also helps our sport and transmit values that are good for young people.”
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