Rafael Nadal: ‘Roger Federer and I are not close friends, but we can speak anytime’

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played their first match in Miami 2004 when the 17-year-old stunned world no. 1 in straight sets. From the following season, Nadal joined Federer as the second-strongest link on the Tour, playing for notable titles against his greatest rivals and challenging him to improve his game even more. Federer and Nadal have played in nine Major finals and numerous other title matches globally, with both players currently standing on 20 Major trophies, two more than Novak Djokovic. Speaking about Federer, Nadal said that they are not close friends who would tell each other they are injured before their clash on the court.

Still, they have forged a strong relationship over the years, often calling each other and speaking about tennis and things in general. Nadal and Federer are skipping Miami, taking more time off the court to prepare for the clay swing. Two great rivals set the world record in Cape Town in February 2020, playing in front of over 50,000 people.

Rafael Nadal spoke about his relationship with Roger Federer. 

After that, Federer had to skip the entire season due to a knee injury, undergoing two surgeries in February and May and returning to the court a few weeks ago in Doha. On the other hand, Nadal claimed that elusive 20th Major crown at Roland Garros last year, matching Federer’s record and hoping to pass the Swiss in Paris this June, working hard on clay and getting ready for his favorite tournaments. 

“We are very good companions, and as the time went on, our relationship improved. We are not close friends; I would not tell him that my knee hurts before facing him! We can call each other anytime and speak about anything. I spoke with him just today! I want to be competitive and well-prepared heading into Monte Carlo and the whole clay-court swing, which is the most crucial time of the year for me. I am working very hard for that. It’s sad to play without that extra energy from the family and friends. It’s strange, especially for us older players who used to travel with family and many other people. Let’s hope that thanks to vaccines, there will be a normal situation again,” Rafael Nadal said.

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