“Greatest Men in the History of Sport”: Rafael Nadal Showers Praise on Roger Federer

Published 11/06/2020, 5:03 AM EST
Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in the Men’s Singles Semi Final at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been at the center of the G.O.A.T debate for years. The two men are now finally on level terms in one of the biggest factors for success in that debate – the number of Grand Slams won. While this gives rise to more comparisons between the two, Nadal simply laid rest to those discussions.

The Spaniard called his Swiss counterpart “one of the greatest men in the history of sport”, and not just in tennis. Many have opined that Federer is the more naturally talented player among the two. However, Nadal does not believe in comparisons based on talent, as he feels each player has his own talent.

“What does talent mean?” asked Nadal, countering the question asked to him. “Each of us has his own talent. Everything is easy for one, the other knows how to stay on the pitch for a long time.”


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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (R) attend the Laver Cup Gala at HEAD Geneve prior to the Laver Cup 2019 at Palexpo on September 19, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Laver Cup will see six players from the rest of the World competing against their counterparts from Europe. Team World is captained by John McEnroe and Team Europe is captained by Bjorn Borg. The tournament runs from September 20-22 (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

Rafael Nadal highlights similarities and differences with Roger Federer

Nadal then referred to Federer as his ‘compañero’, or his companion, and felt that their rivalry had helped them both as well as the sport. “He was my big rival, that was good for both of us and also for tennis,” Nadal expressed.

At the same time, Rafa highlighted the similarities between the two superstars of the sport. “We’re similar in some things. We ensure peace and quiet, for family,” Nadal expressed. However, hailing from different backgrounds and countries, Nadal feels they are quite different in how they live their lives.

He’s Swiss, I’m Latino. We have different characters, cultures, and ways of life,” Nadal said further.

(Quotes have been translated to English via Google Translate)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Rafael Nadal of Spain greets Roger Federer of Switzerland during a practice session during Middle Sunday of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 07, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

The history and future of the Federer-Nadal rivalry


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Despite the differentiating factors, Federer and Nadal get along quite well. They have shared the biggest rivalry in tennis for over 15 years now and are always trying to outdo each other for the biggest honors in tennis. However, they have maintained respect for each other on and off the court even during the tensest situations in the build-up to or during a match.

As Federer works towards a comeback, the next time Federer and Nadal could renew their rivalry is at the Australian Open 2021. And if they end up playing each other there, fans could very well witness one of their toughest battles yet as they aim to surpass each other in the Grand Slam battle.


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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.