Rafael Nadal’s dream of playing at the new Santiago Bernabéu is getting closer and closer. As reported by Central Defense, the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, has the idea of inaugurating his stadium with the dispute of an exhibition tennis match between the Balearic tennis player and Roger Federer. Nadal has already given the yes for this event and is still waiting to know a date to find a rival. In case Roger Federer could not attend the match, the second option would be Novak Djokovic. Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and journalist Ben Rothenberg recently spoke at length about Roger Federer and his comeback. According to Bartoli, even though Federer wouldn’t want to lose all of his records, he is unlikely to try and protect them if that comes at the cost of his health.
Bartoli on Roger Federer’s return
“Roger Federer already got beaten in the No. 1 weeks by Djokovic and I don’t think he wants to lose all his records,” Marion Bartoli said. “But I don’t think he wants to put his body on the line just for one record. He has achieved enough.” The Frenchwoman sounded confident that the Swiss’s decision to play the clay season would reap dividends, as the demanding nature of the surface can help bring Federer back to shape. “Roger almost never took a bad decision in his career,” Bartoli said. “Living here in Dubai, I know, it’s really hot, so if he’s able to practise outside for a month, he’s going to get really fit. Clay is not about the matches, it’s about the fitness to play long matches. I think for him, clay will be the perfect way for him to get those muscles back working. The time he spends there will help him in match situations.” Despite Djokovic’s unprecedented success, he still trails Nadal and Federer when it comes to popularity among tennis fans across the globe. In match against his biggest rivals, Djokovic is often booed by fans in the arena to try and get under his skin. He holds a legendary status in his home country with a dedicated fanbase, but he doesn’t match Nadal or Federer in terms of pulling power. But that presents an issue for the ATP Tour going forward with the three most successful players currently playing entering their twilight years. Federer will turn 40 later this summer while Nadal and Djokovic will be 35 and 34 years old respectively by the time Wimbledon starts. In their prime, all three players would compete at every tournament possible and amass huge support from across the globe. But now, with injuries taking their toll, they’re handpicking which tournaments to take part in with a clear objective to stay fit for the Grand Slams.