Former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has shared two memorable rivalries with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic over the course of his career.
The Spaniard beat his Swiss contemporary when they first played against each other in the Miami Open 2004. Rafa beat the then World No. 1 (Federer) in straight sets.
On the other hand, Nadal played against Novak for the first time at Roland Garros and won the match after taking the first two sets. Unfortunately, the match couldn’t be completed as the Serb retired due to a lower back injury. Since then, the two athletes have competed in 55 matches against each other and Novak leads the tie, 29-27.
Rafael Nadal: “The fight takes place only on the tennis court”
The 13-time French Open champion was recently asked about the relationship he shares with his two main rivals. The player from Mallorca stated, “I have a great relationship with Roger and Novak. We are rivals only during our matches. The fight takes place only on the tennis court.”
While Djokovic edges past Rafa in their head-to-head, the Spaniard leads the tie in his rivalry with Federer. They’ve played each other on 40 occasions, and Nadal has won 24 of those matches against Roger’s 16 wins.
The first time the Spaniard played against the Swiss superstar was as a young 17-year-old and they are still going toe-to-toe in their mid-thirties.
The last time the two superstars competed against each other was at the Wimbledon 2019 when Roger beat Rafa in 4 sets to book a spot in the final. On the other hand, Nadal dismantled Novak in the French Open 2020 final, which happened to be the last match they’ve played.
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