“Created Something Special”: Rafael Nadal Admits His Rivalry With Roger Federer Goes Beyond Tennis

Published 09/29/2020, 2:03 AM EDT


When Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev came on to the ATP circuit, many considered them to have a rivalry similar to that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and maybe even challenge the two greats for big titles. They have earned their share of popularity over the years. However, fans still aren’t done with Federer and Nadal and yearn to see more of these two maestros.

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The US Open 2020 final did not create the buzz of a Federer-Nadal final. But Nadal believes that things like these take time and winning more and more titles will help the new-gen players gain popularity with time.

Nadal also spoke about his rivalry with Federer. “In some ways, it’s normal. We’ve been on the tour for I don’t know how many years and we have been there a lot of times,” Rafa said after his first-round win at French Open 2020. “You know, of course maybe Roger and I, we created something special with our rivalry. And that goes over the tennis world.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his first round match against Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Popularity does not come overnight, believes Rafael Nadal

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Nadal said that not many looked forward to the first time Federer, or Nadal himself played in a big final. Earning that level of popularity comes with time and victories, the Spaniard believes. When asked about how the next generation could get more popular, Rafa said, “Well, it needs time, that’s all. Probably, titles and matches, like Dominic played in the final, helps to become more popular, and that’s it. You know you don’t create very popular stars in two days. You know, you need to achieve things. I’m sure that the first final that I played or Roger played was not the same as today if we play in a final. That’s a process.”

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match against Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Nadal on the future of tennis

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The 19-time Grand Slam winner is optimistic about the future of the sport. “I think they have to do their way, and tennis will be healthy. We have a good future,” Nadal concluded.

The 12-time French Open champion has begun his bid for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam. A title win gets him on level terms with his greatest rival Federer for the most Grand Slams. Nadal defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, to book his place in the second round where he will face Mackenzie McDonald.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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