Rafael Nadal shed some light on his relationship with Roger Federer during a recent conversation with Santander, one of his sponsors. Nadal revealed that despite the fact that he and Federer get along very well, they are not tell-each-other-everything kind of friends.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer began as bitter rivals both on and off the court, with the Swiss occasionally displaying hostility towards the Spaniard’s camp - particularly towards Nadal’s uncle Toni. However, the two all-time greats have grown closer over the years, bonding over their common love for the sport.
Righ now the Swiss and the Spaniard are believed to be on excellent terms, and Rafael Nadal reinforced that idea during the conversation. However, the 13-time French Open champion did mention that they don't share all the minute details of their lives with each other.
"We are very good companions and as the time went on, our relationship improved," Nadal said. "We are not close friends; I would not tell him that my knee hurts before facing him. But we can call each other anytime and speak about anything. I spoke with him just today!"
Rafael Nadal also provided an update on his preparations for the upcoming clay swing, where he is widely expected to win a record-extending 14th French Open title and surpass Roger Federer’s haul of 20 Major titles.
Nadal expressed his desire to be fully ready for the claycourt season, adding that it is the 'most important time of the year' for him.
"I want to be competitive and well-prepared heading into Monte Carlo and the whole clay-court swing which is the most important time of the year for me," the Mallorcan said. "I am working very hard for that."
Sad to play without that extra energy: Rafael Nadal on closed-door tennis
Despite occasionally witnessing crowds, tennis has largely been a spectator-free sport during the ongoing pandemic. In that context, Rafael Nadal revealed that he finds it 'sad' to play in a lifeless atmosphere.
The Mallorcan did, however, express hope of normal service to resume once the global vaccination drives begin to take effect.
"It's sad to play without that extra energy," Nadal said. "It's strange, especially for us older players who used to travel with family and many other people. Let's hope that thanks to vaccines there will be a normal situation again."
Nadal was then probed about his coaching team, which has largely remained unchanged throughout his career. The only major change was the 2016 departure of former coach and uncle Toni Nadal, whose position was eventually filled by present-coach Carlos Moya.
Rafael Nadal revealed that his uncle Toni quit his duties only because the constant traveling had taken a toll on him.
"I have been having the same team since I was 15 years old," Nadal said. "Uncle Toni left because he was tired of traveling. I trust them a lot."