A former tennis professional gave him insight into the relationship between tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. They are two of the greatest male players of all time and have faced each other many times in major tournaments, but they have never let their competitiveness get in the way of the friendship they share.
Federer and Nadal share 41 Grand Slam titles, the last of which arrived last month as the latter made history at the Australian Open.
The Spaniard was two sets behind Daniil Medvedev in the deciding match but found the strength to force a fifth set and used the momentum he had to emerge victorious in the five-hour thriller.
Many rivals would have been bitter that their Major title record had just been eclipsed, but that was not Federer’s reaction. Instead, the Swiss posted an emotional message of congratulations on social media.
He was also clearly impressed with what Nadal had just achieved, especially as he had just returned from a lengthy injury layoff and a Covid-19 bout.
” What a game ! Federer wrote on his Instagram story.
“To my friend and great rival, Rafael Nadal, sincere congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles.
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“It means a lot to me,” he said. “We have an amazing relationship – we’ve done amazing things together. For me, it is a great honor to be part of his time.
“Together we have enjoyed and experienced incredible moments in the history of our sport. To receive such a message from him means a lot to me.
“I wish him good luck, he knows it, and I really hope we can play again in important stages.”
Some suspicious fans online had suggested that Federer’s post could have been a publicity stunt to boost his popularity, but Marion Bartoli has denied those claims.
The 2013 Wimbledon champion described the relationship she saw between Federer and Nadal while playing at the same events as them.
“Federer and Nadal are real friends. Roger’s message for Rafa’s victory at the Australian Open was heartfelt,” Bartoli said.
“It wasn’t staged. They’re having fun together, they’re spending time together in the players’ lounge.”
After his victory in Australia, Nadal hopes to continue his reign as “King of Clay” by winning his 22nd Grand Slam at Roland-Garros in May.
Meanwhile, Federer is unlikely to be in Paris as he continues his recovery from his latest knee surgery, while the Swiss’ long-term future in the sport is uncertain.
They plan to appear together at an event later in the year, however, after it was announced that they would be doubles partners representing Team Europe at the Laver Cup in September.