Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer the most interesting rival according to former champion
Mats Wilander rates the Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer rivalry as the most interesting and entertaining battle in elite tennis.
Wilander said he believes that the two players really enjoy playing each other.
However, he suspects that it is Nadal who has gleaned the most enjoyment out of their head-to-head meetings.
Nadal has, after all won 24 of the 40 meetings between the two players.
The Swede feels that Nadal’s left-handedness and relative youth have always made him a tricky opponent for Federer.
Wilander believes that if it were not for the emergence of Nadal and then Novak Djokovic, Federer would have more than 30 Grand Slams to his name.
“I think both of them have taken the game to a different level,” Wilander said on Eurosport.
“Without Rafa and Novak, Roger could have maybe won 30 Grand Slams, but that’s kind of irrelevant. He was pushed to a different level by those two.
“As a tennis player, you’re not going out there to win the most majors, you’re going out there to improve your game and get to a certain level.
“Why does Rafa see Roger as his greatest rival? I think it has to do with history, of course, the matches you play… but also the enjoyment factor of playing against the opponent.
“How can you not enjoy playing against Roger Federer? I think Rafa enjoyed playing Roger maybe more than Roger enjoyed playing Rafa because Rafa was the youngster, a leftie… difficult.
“The contrast of style [as well]. It’s the most interesting rivalry for me.”
Nadal and Federer haven’t met in a competitive match since the 2019 Wimbledon semi-final which saw the Swiss superstar claim his 16th victory over the Spaniard.
Federer was warmly welcomed onto Wimbledon’s Centre Court over the weekend and has expressed his desire to return to the tour.
As for Nadal, it seems that the treatment on his chronic foot injury appears to have given him hope of a busy end to the season on the North American hard court swing.
Federer has indicated his intention to return in time to enter the indoor event in Basel.
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