Rafael Nadal believes that the impending return of his good friend and arch-rival Roger Federer bodes well for the tennis world. According to the Spaniard, his rivalry with Federer elevates the sport from the global perspective.
During a recent chat with his sponsor Santander Bank, Rafael Nadal talked candidly about a series of interesting topics. One of those topics was Roger Federer, and Nadal expressed his eagerness to resume their rivalry - while also joking that the Swiss' return would hamper his own chances of winning Slams.
"If you ask me if I'd rather be the one to win the Grand Slams, yeah I would (laughs)," Nadal said. "But I think it's also good for tennis that Federer comes back with a fighting spirit and that we have this rivalry. I think that this (rivalry) makes this sport much larger, like looking at it from a global point of view, not my own personal point of view. I think this rivalry is entertaining and great for our sport."
Rafael Nadal believes that if the rest of Roger Federer's recovery process goes according to plan, his fellow 20-time Grand Slam champion will make a positive impact on the tour. He also stressed that the Swiss maestro has 'nothing more to prove' after having put together a two-decade-long career filled with glorious achievements.
"I think that if he recovers properly and he feels ready to prepare himself because his injury is gone, I think he's going to come back in full force," Nadal added. "He doesn't have anything left to prove and he's proven that whenever he is doing fine he can play at the highest of levels. I think he has kept himself in good shape physically, and if he can play painlessly, he will be fully competitive."
What can we expect from the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry in 2021?
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have faced each other 40 times on the tour so far, with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head 24-16. And even though the numbers may not sound very even, their battles on the court have been among the fiercest and most competitive ones in the history of the game.
Nadal was quite dominant in the early stages of their rivalry, but in recent times Federer has had the Spaniard's number. The Swiss legend has won seven of their last eight encounters, with the only loss coming on the clay courts of Roland Garros in 2019.
Rafael Nadal has recently refurbished his game and is likely to offer a lot more resistance to Roger Federer on hardcourts. However, the World No. 5 remains the clear favorite in indoor and grasscourt match-ups.
Nadal will likely end up with more Grand Slam titles than Federer, given the age advantage he enjoys. But the Swiss will be eager to end his career on a high, and we can expect their matches to continue being ultra-competitive even in 2021 and beyond.