‘We are not best friends’ – Roger Federer lifts lid on his relationship with rival Rafael Nadal

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal PA

Roger Federer has thanked Rafael Nadal for his efforts at the Laver Cup, adding that they may not be ‘best friends’ but they have a huge amount of respect for each other.

The pair have had an enduring rivalry over the years, but on-court battles between the two have become rarer in recent times.

They teamed-up for Team Europe in the Laver Cup last week and were due to play doubles together until injury struck Nadal, but Federer has hailed their relationship nonetheless.

“To be honest we understand each other very, very well,” he told TVA Sports.

“What I like of Rafa is how open and honest we are one another.

We respect each other so much. Are we best friends? I do not think so. He has better friends than me and me too.

“But in the end, it’s about the respect. When we fight on the court, we are rivals.”

A hand injury forced Nadal to sit out the final day of the Laver Cup, but Federer insists it was not an issue for him – because he was the first to hear about it.

“He told me about all the problems he recently had with his hand.

“On Sunday morning, I was the first to receive his message that he was not able to play and he was disappointed and sad.

“I told him I would have understood and that there were some great other players on the team.”

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