Best of Nadal vs Federer
Here, we will take a look at the best of Nadal vs Federer matches. The game of tennis has seen many rivalries in the past. Some classics like Lendl-Mcenroe, Agassi-Sampras and, more recently, Nadal-Djokovic have made the game much more intriguing and interesting over the years. Be it the high temperament of Mcenroe or the public feud between Agassi and Sampras, the game manages to provide an unstaged dramatic element as a whole just when the game needs it. But a rivalry which is wilder than a peach orchard bear is the one which has went on for a decade. They are the only pair to face each other in eight Grand Slam finals. They are the only pair who conquered the top two positions in the ATP rankings for six consecutive calendar years. Yes, this is a rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
They have met in 33 matches against each other. Nadal won 23 of these encounters while Federer won 10, In fact, 20 of their 33 matches have been in tournament finals. 8 of them were Grand Slam Finals and 10 were Masters Series Finals. Such has been the dominance of the pair in the past that few argued about the players who will play the finals of any tournament. Everybody had two names on their lips – Nadal and Federer. So, lets go through some of the greatest matches that shaped up this amazing rivalry.
?5. Dubai 2006 Final
Federer was unbeaten in a record of 56 hard-court matches. Nadal was playing only his second tournament in four months. The Swiss was the favorite for everyone. Bets were heavily placed against Nadal. But the story was just like one of those which never fail to surprise you.
Nadal was completely outclassed by the Swiss in the first set, losing 2-6 in merely 28 minutes. But then, the fans got a glimpse of a much braver Nadal as he came to the net often to pressurize Federer through his volleys and passing shots that got the better of the Swiss. The Spaniard took four break points in the net in the second set which set up a mouth-watering clash in the third set. But Federer’s play had gone wayward and Nadal was unrentlesss. He broke the Swiss through an unforced error and then finished the match on his serve. His teary emotions after the match just showed how worthy the opponent was, how intimitading was the record of the Swiss and how much the match meant to him.
?4. Wimbledon 2007 Final
Federer was frustrated at three consecutive losses against Nadal in the French Open and wanted to exact revenge. He also had a chance to equal Bjorn Borg’s record of 5 consecutive WImbledon titles. Nadal, on the other hand, had momentum on his side and wanted to prove his critics wrong about the fact that he’s just a player for the clay courts. Thus, the match started.
Federer got a wily start to lead the set 3-0 before Nadal broke him to take the set to tie-break. Here, Federer was shaky but still managed to win the tie-breaker and thus the set. The second set was closely fought,too. The score was at 5-4 after which the world tennis of the highest class by Nadal who breaks Federer and wins the set. Nadal was roaring back. But the calm attitude of Federer reflected in the third set to fight for another tight set and ultimately win it with a scoreline of 7-6. The fifth set saw Federer completely out of his game and Nadal getting injured in the middle of the set. Thus, Federer employed a tactic to rally with Nadal but it backfired as Nadal’s shots were too much for the Swiss and he ended up conceding the set 6-2, putting the curtains on an outstanding Wimbledon final.
?3. Miami 2005
Nadal and Federer were again at another hard court venue to face-off against each other. Nadal had defeated Federer at the same venue at a minimal age of 17. Federer, with all his experience, was wary of the teenager’s threat and wanted to erase the same memory.
Federer had no reply for the Spaniard in the first set as some exuberant tennis cemented a victory for Nadal, who won it 2-6. The second set was another closely fought battle which was won 7-6 through pure determination from the Spaniard. 2 sets down and the score at 4-1, the match was looking out of Federer’s hands. But the Swiss made his experience count by winning the third set on a tie-breaker and, taking advantage of a demoralized Nadal, he clinched the final set and the title. It remains the only match that Nadal has lost after leading the first two sets. A brilliant match for the viewers and a key match in the development of Nadal into the powerhouse that he is today. And it was an explanation of what experience actually is, duly delivered by the Swiss express.
?2. Rome 2006
The two intrepid forces played out one of the most fantastic clay-court matches in tennis history, not in the traditional French Open but in the capital city of Rome where Federer lost in his bid to dethrone Nadal of his “King of Clay” status and handing him the record of a 53-match winning streak on clay – equalling that to the legendary Guillermo Vilas.
The 19-year old Spaniard was tested numerous times by the sophisticated Swiss, losing the first set 6-7. He bounced back in the second when some powerful baseline shots from Nadal was skied high by Federer. Federer’s tactics of coming to the net so often was undone for when he lost the third set to Nadal,too. Fedex regained his composure in the fourth and had two championship points, with the scoreline reading 5-4. But Nadal’s run-of-the-mill ability encouraged him to bounce back in an inspired fashion and to put another feather in his cap with Vilas’s record. What Djokovic did at the age of 25, Nadal could do at the mere age of 19. The class just speaks for itself.
?1. Wimbledon Final 2008
The All England Club was ablaze with excitement. It was yet another final between Nadal and Federer. Federer hadn’t lost in 40 matches in the All England Club and he had no plans to stop that streak. Since 1980, no one had won both the French Open and the Wimbledon title in the same caledar year. Fans were pouring in to watch, what they thought, would be a regular match but with an enriched preview. What they got was probably one of the best tennis matches in history.
Nadal lead the first two sets comfortably but gave that comfort up when Federer fought back. Ultimately, Nadal won the first two sets 6-4 6-4. The Swiss no. 1 took the reins in the third set, winning it 7-6. He won the next set 7-6 as well after Nadal lost two match points in the tie-breaker, Federer set up an exciting decider which was marred by bad lighting conditions. A match riddled with rain, the momentum of both players was disturbed drastically. Federer kept it up by being two points away from the championship in the final set. Miraculously, Nadal broke his serve and survived the scare of losing the title. He continued tormenting Federer with his baseline shots before reaching glory by clinching the title and entering the record books. Dejection in Federer’s face was plain to see as he complained about how the loss of such an important match under mere reasons of bad light is extremely unfair on him. But the fans had witnessed something really magical. One which hasnt been replicated till today.