4 instances when Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic gifted their shirts to opponents

The Big 3 - Novak Djokovic(left), Roger Federer(center) and Rafael Nadal(right)
The Big 3 - Novak Djokovic(left), Roger Federer(center) and Rafael Nadal(right)

Tennis greats Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have elevated the game each with their own signature styles. No wonder the Big 3 are showered with love and respect both on and off court by fans and their fellow players alike.

With careers spanning over two decades (that ended for Federer in 2022 while Nadal and Djokovic continue to play) the Big 3 often find themselves locking horns with opponents who have long admired the trio. In such cases, it is only natural for opponents to request them for a souvenir.

Here are a few occasions when Federer, Nadal and Djokovic gifted their shirts to opponents.

#1 Roger Federer to Rafael Nadal at Hamburg Masters 2007


Federer defeated Nadal in the finals of the 2007 Hamburg Masters. After losing the first set, the Swiss maestro levelled the match and took it to a decider set. He absolutely dominated the final set to close the match 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in his favor.

After the match, Nadal asked the 20-time Grand Slam champion for an autographed t-shirt in the locker room. As per an anonymous source, Federer happily agreed.

"Roger signed it in the changing rooms. Both were very happy," the anonymous source said (via Brisbane Times).

Interestingly, in a repeat of the 2007 Hamburg Open finals, the duo clashed at the title-summit of the 2008 Hamburg Open. That year, Nadal won the trophy and the legendary on-court rivalry continued.

2. Roger Federer to Michael Llodra at Canadian Open 2010

Roger Federer clashed with Michael Llodra in the Round of 16 at the 2010 Canadian Open(then called the Rogers Cup). Federer bested the 3-time doubles Grand Slam champion 7-6(2), 6-3 and was later requested by the latter for a shirt.

Mirroring the soccer tradition, the duo exchanged shirts in the locker room. Roger Federer later shared that Llodra had joked that former World No. 1 had 'no choice' but to give him one.

“He said he needed a shirt. You know, once when his kids are bigger, he said. I was like ‘The pink shirt you want?’ and he was like ‘Yeah you have no choice, you got to give me your shirt now’. And I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll give you my shirt’ and he gave me his, like in soccer. It was fun, he’s a good friend of mine,” Federer said as per Tennis TV.

3. Novak Djokovic to Hugo Dellien at Tokyo Olympics 2021

Novak Djokovic began his 2021 Tokyo Olympics campaign with a victory over Bolivia's Hugo Dellien. Djokovic was in command throughout the match and closed it 6-2, 6-2 in his favor.

The duo shook hands at the net where Dellien expressed his admiration for the World No. 1. He requested Djokovic for a t-shirt that the latter graciously agreed to give in the locker room later.

4. Rafael Nadal to Pedro Cachin at Madrid Open 2024


Rafael Nadal has been having a pretty promising run so far at the Madrid Open. He trumped Pedro Cachin in the Round of 32 to book a spot in the fourth round on Monday, April 29.

After the match, the Argentine requested the former World No. 1 for a shirt at the net.

"It’s a dream come true for me, I'm not sure what is the protocol, but can I ask you for a shirt?" Cachin said as per a clip posted by the ATP channel on X.

In a break from protocol, the Spaniard smiled and went over Cachin's side of the net to hand him the shirt and gave him a hug.

He will next clash with Jiri Lehecka in the fourth round of the Madrid Open.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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