Rafael Nadal on Roger Federer: “We created an amazing rivalry together
The Spaniard said he is as proud of his friendship with Federer as he is of the moments they shared on court
The Spaniard will partner Federer in his last ever match, a doubles clash at the Laver Cup on Friday night, taking on the Team World pairing of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.
“After all the amazing things that we shared together on and off court, to be part of this historic moment is going to something amazing, unforgettable for me,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“I think the memories that Roger brings to the sport, in my personal way, they are not only in matches against me. I saw him playing comfortably before I arrived on tour. I saw him having success on TV, and then (we were) able to create an amazing rivalry together.”
The 36-year-old, who played Federer 40 times, including nine Grand Slam finals, said he was also proud of the friendship they have developed off the court.
“On the other hand, something that probably we are very proud of has been (having) a friendly rivalry. Not easy sometimes, because we are playing for such an important things for our tennis career, but at the same time we were able to understand that at the end, personal relationships are more important than sometimes professional things. We were able to handle it I think the proper way.”
Nadal said his favourite memory on court was beating Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final, ending the Swiss’s run of five straight titles there.
But he also singled out the 2017 Australian Open final, when Federer won the last five games to win the title, as another special moment.
“A few months before we were together, injured, talking about how the things are going to be, if we are going to be able to be back on the tour at this level,” he said. “And a few months later we are playing the final in Australia, five-set match.”
Nadal: “I’m going to try my best to make this moment even more special”
Nadal said though Federer will probably be emotional in his final match, he may be too.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a special thing. I think very difficult, difficult one. It’s going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. For me too.
“You know, at the end, one of the most important players, if not most important player in my tennis career, is leaving. At the end, live this moment will be difficult.
“Of course I am super excited and grateful to play with him. “I just think I am going to try to do my best in every single way, to help to have this moment even more special than what it’s going to be.”