Roger Federer savours rivalry with Rafael Nadal, says they are "Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Tennis"

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Roger Federer savours rivalry with Rafael Nadal, says they are "Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Tennis"

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SportsCafe Desk

07/02/2018

Roger Federer has compared the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and him akin to the battle existing between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. This statement was made on the tenth anniversary of Federer's historic loss to Nadal in Wimbledon as he relishes the rivalry between both of them.

Sports has seen great rivalries in the past - Ali vs Frazier, Lauda vs Hunt, and of course Sampras vs Agassi. But, each of those tales has had a singular ending with one emerging the clear winner out of the duels. The Federer-Nadal saga though does not have that sickly sweet storyline. However, fierce friends off the court and formidable foes on it, it is their contrasting qualities that have enriched the rivalry. Federer, on the tenth anniversary of his historic loss to Nadal in Wimbledon, stated that their long-standing rivalry is similar to the one Messi and Ronaldo observe on the field. 

Ahead of his quest to win his 21st Grand Slam title, Federer reminisced the historic and heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Rafael Nadal in 2007, the event which fired the rivalry between the two prominent players of World Tennis.

“Sure, yeah. They have a long-standing rivalry. I have the same with Rafa. They're very different from one another. I guess there's some similarities there as well,” Federer was quoted as saying by BBC.

“As similar as we are, Rafa and myself, we’re still very different on many levels. I think it's pretty much the same for them. Obviously in football, it's different because you're only good as your team. The pitch is huge, with 11 of them running around. With us, we're a little more in control, let's be honest. I hope I can control it a bit better than they could,” added Federer.

Similar to Messi and Ronaldo, the two tennis stars have equally conquered three grand slam titles in the last couple of years. This year, Nadal will compete as World no. 1, with Federer occupying the second hold. Federer had even skipped the clay court at Roland Garros to be fully prepared for the Wimbledon. Even though being an experienced player when it comes to Wimbledon, Federer stated that he still gets anxious over playing the first match on the centre court.

“I think it remains a bit nerve-wracking in all honesty. It's a big deal. I mean, besides the history and the mythical place that it is, you cannot also practice on it,” said Federer.

“When you come out, there's a bit of uncertainty for both the players, from a very quiet week and site that we've seen this week, it's just packed everywhere. The entire atmosphere changes at Wimbledon, and you realize the eyes are on you. It's a massive honour,” he added.

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