Roger Federer’s touching tribute to ‘greatest rival’ Rafael Nadal after Spaniard joins him on 20 Slams

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal PA

Roger Federer has paid tribute to Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard drew level with him on 20 Grand Slams with victory at Roland Garros.

Nadal beat world No 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Court Philippe Chatrier in the French Open final on Sunday to win a 13th title in Paris and join Federer on 20 majors.

The 39-year-old Federer, whose last major came at the 2018 Australian Open, says he hopes Nadal’s latest success is “just another step on the continuing journey for both of us”.

“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion,” he wrote.

“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players. Therefore, it is a true honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.

“It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport. I also congratulate his team, because nobody can do this alone.

“I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us. Well done, Rafa. You deserve it.”

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