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Nadal would prefer to avoid Federer at Flushing Meadows

A smiling Rafael Nadal said he would be happier to avoid Roger Federer if he makes it to the semi-finals of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Rafael Nadal Roger Federer - cropped
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the 2017 Australian Open

Roger Federer thinks a US Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal would be "fun for everybody involved", but the Spaniard would prefer to meet a different opponent if he makes the last four.

Although Federer and Nadal have enjoyed a host of titanic battles in grand slams, the duo have never met at Flushing Meadows.

That could change this year after both players were placed in the top half of the men's singles draw in New York and Federer responded enthusiastically in his pre-tournament news conference when asked about the prospect of facing Nadal.

However, Nadal said: "If I am in the semi-finals, I prefer to play against another one. That is obvious, no?"

The Spaniard added with a smile: "It sounds very good, but the real thing, I prefer to play against another player, an easier one if it's possible.

"I know you want to hear the other way, that I would love to play with him. Of course I understand that it's gonna be great for our history. If that happens, it will be something great and amazing.

"There are a lot of points and games to play, so now is not the moment to think about that.

"For me, I think about [first-round opponent Dusan] Lajovic. That's my goal."

Nadal and Federer are the respective first and third seeds for the year's final grand slam. The second seed, Andy Murray, withdrew through injury on Saturday to join the likes of defending champion Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic on a lengthy list of absentees.

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