Roger Federer has revealed that he was surprised by Rafael Nadal’s decision to take part in the Shanghai Open after his participation in the US Open and the Laver Cup. Heaping praise on his biggest nemesis till date, Federer has also claimed that Nadal is much more than just the king of clay courts.
Nadal and Federer are seeded at ranks one and two in this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters and are currently the biggest contenders exchanging places for the number one position with big names like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sitting out with injuries.
Despite being over the thirties, both Nadal and Federer are far from the thought of retirement although they respect the limits their body can take, in a physically dominant sport. Hence, when the Spaniard took part in the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Federer was taken aback.After a hectic summer that ended with Nadal winning the title at the US Open, Federer had expected his long-term nemesis to sit out this one.
“It's nice to see him keep going, a really big win for him (China Open, Beijing) on Sunday. He won the US Open, played the Laver Cup, so for him to go to Beijing and win it right away, I expected him to pull out, to be honest, just because, why not? And come here to Shanghai. Or maybe just skip Asia totally… There is no reason for him to push so hard," Federer was quoted as saying by AFP.
Two of the top tennis players for almost a decade now, they have 35 Grand Slam titles between them, 37 meetings, 23-14 head-to-head. The tournament win count for the year itself is 11, six to Nadal. Chasing the season-ending World No.1 ranking is definitely quite admirable for the 31-year-old.
Nadal is widely known as the king of clay court where he has won innumerable times and at times has looked invincible. But, Federer was quick to point out that he thinks the Nadal much more than that.
He stated, “He played the final of the Australian Open. That's not losing in the first round. He made his point early in the season that he can play on hard courts, he showed that 15 years ago. The problem for him is that he has won 10 French Opens. People think he cannot play on hard courts because he has won so many French Opens."