Roger Federer, who is making a comeback into competitive tennis after an injury-layoff, has revealed that perennial rival Rafael Nadal is the toughest opponent he has ever had to face. Federer also hopes that Nadal can come back from the injuries that have plagued him last year and regain his form.
The Federer-Nadal rivalry is arguably the biggest rivalry in tennis, but the rivalry has always been limited to the court. Off it, both players have always spoken very highly of each other.
At a Q&A session in Perth for the Hopman Cup, Federer said that he regarded Rafael Nadal as the toughest opponent ever.
Federer said, “Yes, I would have to pick Rafa [Nadal]. I think the way he played – and plays – against me has always been extremely difficult for me. Plus, I think I’ve played way too many clay-court matches against him. That’s kind of scared me I think!,” reported Eurosport.
He added, “He’s beaten me a lot of times in those finals – time and time again – and he just showed me what he could do.
“That’s why I hope for him that he can come back extremely strong again because I think the world of Rafa and his game. I think it’s quite extraordinary, actually.”
“His fighting spirit and his professionalism that he brings to the game… I really enjoy watching him and it’s been tough against him.
“Every match I won against him almost counted double for me.”
While Nadal is currently placed at the ninth position in the ATP world rankings, Federer is ranked 16th as both look to overturn a disappointing series of performances in the last year.
The 30-year-old Spaniard’s last season was hindered by inconsistent form and a wrist injury that put him out of action for the major part of 2016. Nadal made a comeback to the court last week on a good note by winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi for the fourth time. Similarly, Federer’s season was curtailed after Wimbledon due to a knee injury and he is making a return to the court at the Hopman Cup this month.