February 26, 2021

Best tennis players: Federer and Nadal side by side comparison

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Since 2004 on the tennis world stage there have been two greatest rivals – Roger Federer and Rafal Nadal. Both are excellent tennis players that go side by side in the tournaments. They met for the first time in 2005, and since then they are continuously forming one of the best sports rivalries history has ever seen.

Federer is commonly considered a tennis legend, a symbol of class, admired even by Nadal. However, it’s Nadal who won more matches against his arch-competitor. Because of that, the GOAT-question is still around. Fans continuously try to answer it by watching grand slams and ATP finals, on the sports channels, tennis stream, or by going to matches and comparing the Big Titles to choose the Greatest-Of-All-Times.

The Two Opposites

Even though fans continuously compare their legacy, Nadal and Federer are complete opposites. Before we analyze numbers and career titles further, let’s have a closer look at the type of person they are on the court.

Firstly, Federer is right-handed, whereas Nadal is left-handed. That makes their rivalry even more challenging, as left-handed tennis players have a unique style of play. As a result, they need to adjust to the style of the other player during the game.

Secondly, their style of play is entirely different. Federer more frequently approaches the net, whereas Nadal’s technique is to dominate from the baseline. Their backhand is different – Federer’s is single, and Nadal’s is double. Additionally, Federer makes each move with grace and moves fast, while Nadal plays like a beast. He has plenty of rituals and is relatively slower in his technique. Both players are associated with different images – Federer is a classy Swiss with a Rolex, and Nadal is a ruthless warrior in Hilfinger underwear.

Grass VS Clay

Not only is their technique entirely different but they are also masters in different courts. It’s barely possible to be the best on each type of court as each demands other skills and poses various challenges. It’s not easy to become the winner of all the slams; hence, the GOAT-question is so hard to answer. Federer is undoubtedly a king on the grass court, and Nadal feels the smell of victory once he enters the clay courts.

The numbers speak for themselves. Federer leads on the grass-court by 11-9 and Nadal on the clay by 14-2. The grass surface is considered the faster one, so after analyzing Federer’s technique, it’s understandable why he has got eight titles in the grass of Wimbledon, out of 20 tries. And at the same time, Wimbledon for Federer is French Open for Nadal.

However, as both tennis players are considered the greatest, Federer beat Nadal on clay in 2009 at the French Open. And everybody remembers the grand victory over Federer at Wimbledon in 2008.

The Greatest in Numbers

The debate over the two players and their legacies is heated to that extent not without reason. The number of matches they won, the titles they get, and the whole myth they’ve created around their personas made the rivalry between players one of the most frequently discussed in history. But can numbers be the determinants of who is a more outstanding player?

The duo won 24 out of the 28 Slams between 2004 and 2010, and that is when the race has started.

Currently, Federer is fourth in the ranking whereas Nadal is the second only after Djokovic. However, it hasn’t always been like that. Federer used to be No. 1 in ATP rankings a record total of 310 weeks and has finished as the year-end No. 1 five times. Nadal was the second one after Federer for 160 weeks until he took first place in 2008. Then was on top of the ATP rankings for 209 weeks.

There are plenty of factors by which they can be compared – their contracts, their sponsorships, how long they’ve been the top 1. in rankings, how many matches they won, but all of those are just numbers.

Are Nadal and Federer Comparable?

Some tennis fans claim that nobody should compare Roger Federer and Rafal Nadal. They are entirely different players, masters of various courts of different ages, and representatives of multiple styles. Not to mention that Djokovic along with Roger and Nadal now forms the Big Three and is currently at the top of the rankings. Djokovic’s presence caused the discussion to revolve around not two but three players, and in plenty of debates, their successes and techniques are compared side by side.

The debate over GOAT is endless, but it’s difficult not to compare the players that have been meeting each other in the finals of the biggest matches for years. At some point, it has started to be impossible to talk about one of them without mentioning the other one.

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