Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two of the best tennis players that have ever played the game of tennis and, undoubtedly, two of the best players in the modern-day tennis era. Even though neither of them is retired, both are considered legends due to their skill, personality, and of course, records.
While Nadal and Federer are exceptional tennis players and always make tennis fun to watch, what we as fans enjoy the most is seeing them go head-to-head. In fact, matches between the two are so popular that fans coined the term Fedal, referring to Federer and Nadal rivalry.
The Fedal saga began in 2004 at the ATP Master 1000 Miami when the two met on the court for the first time. After a brilliant performance and remarkable display of athleticism he is known for today, Nadal won the match 6-3, 6-3. However, many tennis fans didn’t know at the time that March 28, 2004, was the beginning of a wonderful friendship and a fierce rivalry between these two tennis players.
From that point on, virtually all matches they played against each other were either in the finals or semi-finals, which made every duel especially exciting. Not only that, but every match between Federer and Nadal is described as a clash of styles. Namely, Federer’s tennis is seen as precise, classy, and beautiful, while Nadal is often depicted as a raging bull who’s all about athleticism, speed, and power.
Over the years, Nadal and Federer have met 40 times in total , and when it comes to their head-to-head results, the Spaniard leads 24 to 16. Unsurprisingly, the king of clay dominated the surface and won 14 out of 16 matches against Federer. In contrast, Federer was better on the hard surface with 12 wins out of 21 meetings.
Of all encounters, their match at Wimbledon in 2008 is widely considered the best match the two have played against each other. In fact, it’s regarded as one of the best matches in the history of tennis. After nearly five hours, Nadal won the match 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7, which was, coincidentally, also the only time Nadal beat Federer on grass. The match was so memorable that it inspired a book and a documentary called Strokes of Genius.
Unfortunately for tennis fans across the world, it’s been a while since Fedal made an appearance. The two last met in 2019 in the Wimbledon semi-finals, which Federer won. In addition, Federer turned 40 just a few weeks ago and is not in the same form as he was in his prime, which reduces the chance of the two meeting in the finals once more for the last hurrah.
However, no matter if Nadal and Federer will meet again on the court before retiring or not, one thing is for sure—the duo provided tennis fans with a lifetime of memories, so it’s only logical to wonder, “is Fedal the best tennis rivalry of all time?”
Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, it’s all a matter of perspective and opinion. However, regardless of how you look at it, each match was epic and guaranteed to keep you on your toes.