Between both tennis players there were 40 clashes in total that marked the history of tennis, in which the Spanish had 24 wins and 16 losses.
These are the five memorable duels that were played between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
2005: The emergence of Rafa
In the year of Nadal’s debut at Roland Garros, 2005, both faced each other in the semifinals. The then young Spanish promise, who turned 19 during the tournament, faced off against a player who already had four Grand Slam tournaments under his belt and who had dominated 2004, taking three majors (Australia, Wimbledon and the United States). It was the third match between the two, after two in Miami (a victory for each), and the first duel on clay between the two.
Nadal prevailed in that semifinal by 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and 6-3, moving on to a final where two days later he beat the Argentine Mariano Puerta, to get the first of his fourteen titles so far at Roland Garros . The legend of Nadal in Paris had just been born.
2006: First final in Paris
A year later, Nadal and Federer met again, but then in the grand final. A few weeks before they had met in the final in Rome, in a very exciting duel that was decided in five sets and in a tense tie-breaker final decider.
The final in Paris was therefore presented without a clear favorite and Federer even started by easily winning the first set, 6-1. But Rafa woke up right away and won the next three sets, 6-1, 6-4 and 7-6 (7/4), to defend his title in the French capital. That was the first of the four finals that both played at Roland Garros.
In those of 2007, 2008 and 2011 Nadal also prevailed. Federer could only win Roland Garros once, in 2009, the year in which the Spaniard fell in surprise in the round of 16 against the Swede Robin Soderling.
2008: Splendor in the Grass
For many it is considered one of the best matches in the history of tennis or even the best. It was the Wimbledon final in 2008, in which Nadal defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (8/10) and 9-7, in a duel that It was delayed and interrupted twice by rain, which, added to the balanced battle, made the match an almost endless pulse, which lasted for almost 5 hours.
It was the third of the three finals that both played against each other at Wimbledon and the only one won by the Spaniard. In the first two, in 2006 and 2007, Federer had defeated Nadal in the decisive match at the All England Lawn Club.
2009: Roger’s Tears
It was on February 1, 2009 when one of the most remembered images of the Nadal-Federer took place, the tears of the Swiss after losing the final of the Australian Open in five sets; by 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6 and 6-2. “God, this is killing me,” the Basel tennis player stammered in his message at the trophy ceremony, before breaking down in tears.
Nadal, between surprise and shock to see his rival in that state, dedicated words of praise to him during his message as the new king at the Rod Laver Arena: “You are a great champion.”
2017: Last Grand Slam final
After that 2009 final, Nadal defeated Federer in their next two meetings at the Australian Open, in the semifinals of the 2012 and 2014 editions.
They met once again in Melbourne, but again in the final, in 2017. There Federer took his revenge eight years after the previous Australian final.
The Swiss won that match in five sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6 and 6-3. That day the Swiss’s eyes also moistened, but this time with emotion.