“I Want To Be Roger”: When Rafael Nadal Expressed His Desire to be Roger Federer

Published 03/21/2021, 7:37 AM EDT
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (R) attend the Laver Cup Gala at HEAD Geneve prior to the Laver Cup 2019 at Palexpo 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)


Apart from being fierce rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are great friends off the court. The two tennis legends are really close to each other and often enjoy each other’s company. Interestingly, they are the only two male tennis players who have won 20 Grand Slam titles each in the history of tennis so far.

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Although both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal complement each other, they are two completely different players. While Rafa likes to target the opponent’s baseline, Roger prefers to draw his opponents forward. However, only a few fans know that once Nadal had admitted that he wanted to be Federer himself.

In an old interview, dating back to the last decade, Rafa said that he wanted to play like the Swiss Maestro. He claimed that he would not lose a single match if he could play like his arch-rival.

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“I want to be Roger when I play the individual game,” began Rafa in the interview. “If I play with Roger, I’m playing with Roger but not me against Roger, me with Roger. I feel impossible to lose.”

Roger was in his prime at that time. It was surely his unparalleled performances during that time that inspired a champion like Nadal.

Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal: A rivalry to remember

Popularly known as the ‘Fedal’ rivalry, the two players first played against each other at the Miami Open 2004. Interestingly, Nadal emerged as the winner of that match as he knocked out Federer in the first round of the tournament itself.

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 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

As of now, Federer and Nadal have faced each other on 40 occasions. Rafa leads the head-to-head battle with 24 wins, but Federer is not too far behind with 16 victories. In the 24 finals that they have played against each other, Rafa again maintains the lead over Federer with 14 triumphs.

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They last met in the semis of the Wimbledon Championships 2019 where Federer was able to defeat the Spaniard. Interestingly, even though they have been competing against each other for 17 years, they haven’t met even once at the US Open.

Both Rafa and Roger are not playing at the Miami Open 2021. With Federer returning to the court soon, fans hope that they’ll get to witness more of ‘Fedal’ matches soon. Who will be able to finish his career with more majors- Federer or Nadal?

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Also Watch: When Roger Federer Wanted Rafael Nadal to Visit Him As he Felt Lonely at Rotterdam Open

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Anshul Singh

806 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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