The Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal rivalry has often been described as the greatest rivalry of all time in tennis. But it has been a while since the two legends played in an official match on the tour; their last meeting was at Wimbledon 2019, which Federer won in four sets.
The two friends and rivals did play for the same team on the Laver Cup, and also took part in the Match for Africa Charity exhibition event in early 2020. Since then Federer has undergone surgery on his knee twice, and he now plans to be back next season.
That means fans will need to wait at least until the Australian summer of 2021 for a possible 41st showdown between the two.
It's not just Federer's own fans who are hoping to see him come back on the tour soon. Rafael Nadal himself wants to see his Swiss rival back on the court at the earliest.
Speaking to the media in Paris after his win over Sebastian Korda on Sunday, Nadal said:
"I know he's getting better and I hope he comes back as soon as possible. We don't have 10 years of Roger left and him being on court is good for everyone because he's one of the greatest icons of our sport."
Rafael Nadal predicts bright future for young guns Sebastian Korda and Jannik Sinner
While he awaits the return of his long-time rival, Rafael Nadal has been busy warding off the younger generation of players at Roland Garros this week. On Sunday he scored a straight-sets win over 20-year-old Sebastian Korda, a self-confessed Nadal fan, but was left impressed with the American qualifier.
"Well, he's able to take the ball early, especially with an amazing backhand. But I think the forehand is good too, no? Just that he needs to adjust a little bit the mistakes sometimes with the forehand. But he's able to take the ball early, he take the right position on court. From inside the court, he's able to dominate the point, no? I really believe he's quite tall so he can keep improving a little bit the serve, that I'm sure he will," Nadal said of Korda.
Up next for the Spaniard will be another youngster - the rising Italian Jannik Sinner, who won the ATP Next Gen Finals in 2019. This will be the first meeting on the tour between the two, but Nadal has already had a few practice sessions with the youngster.
"I practice with him a couple of times, he has an amazing potential, he move the hand very quick and he's able to produce amazing shots. So, yeah, I need to play my best,” Nadal said.
"He’s young, he's improving every single week. He’s playing better and better and better. It will be a big challenge. It will be the first time playing against him on the tour," he added.
Many have predicted big things for Sinner in the future. On Tuesday, he will get his first big test on a major stage on the tennis world when he plays in the quarterfinals against Rafael Nadal, the 12-time champion at Roland Garros.Published 05 Oct 2020, 01:24 IST