Roger Federer angrily hits back at accusations he’s avoiding Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer has hit back at critics who claim he is managing his schedule to avoid facing Rafael Nadal.

36-year-old Federer has routinely skipped clay court season in recent years – Nadal’s favoured surface – and this week also pulled out of the Rogers Cup just as Nadal confirmed he’ll play.

That has led to some asking the question of whether Federer simply doesn’t have the stomach anymore for battles with Nadal, including our own Michael Graham. 

However, the 20-time Grand Slam winner says it’s about winning, not rivalry.

“For me, it’s about something more than clashes with Nadal: it means health and tennis enjoyment.

“The main goal is to win titles: that’s why numbers and records are secondary.

“It depends a lot also on what numbers. It’s very special to be there personally in the history of my favorite sport.

“As a kid, I would never think that I would be in the book’s records.

“The goal was to be the best as possible, hoping to be on the biggest stages of the world, maybe meeting my idol.

“And yes, lifting a trophy on the air. But not to reach those numbers! That was (in) someway impossible for me.

“That’s why my joy in tennis is still so big. Because inside, I always stayed on the ground, I know it: it’s not normal, it’s not reality.

“But I accept it and I take it as a challenge to defend my titles or lift some trophies.”