Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have one of the most storied rivalries in tennis history that spans more than a decade. The two may have stumbled in the latter part of their careers as Djokovic, Wawrinka and Murray have won the past Grand Slam championships. However, in some of their matches, they remind viewers of their greatness.
Let’s look back at the unforgettable moments and games between the two.
2005 ATP Masters Miami Final
It was 2005, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are just beginning to solidify their careers. The ATP Masters final isn’t exactly a grand stage to display tennis prowess and star power, but this was the tournament where the rivalry started. Roger was riding a 21-match winning streak and was looking to defeat his rival after his first loss to him. On the other hand, Rafa was the youngest finalist in the history of the Miami tournament at the time and he was looking to claim his first hard court championship.
The back and forth showcased two up and coming world champions, but Federer managed to escape with the win in five sets.
2009 Australian Open Final
TheTicketMerchant.com.au says that when you watch Rafa, Federer, Djokovic or Murray play, you watch a piece of sports history. Seven years ago, Nadal and Roger faced off in one of the most memorable matches in the tournament.
Both players were looking to make tennis history during that match; Federer was aiming for his 14th Grand Slam title, tying Pete Sampras’ record. On the other hand, Rafa was trying to win his first title on a hard court surface, breaking his stereotype as a clay specialist. Destiny was on the Spaniard’s side as he managed to win in five thrilling sets.
2008 Wimbledon Final
Wimbledon is the stage where careers flourish or stumble, the world No. 1 and 2 (Roger and Rafa respectively) battled to etch their names in history. After leading early, Nadal looked primed to finally win Wimbledon after losing the year before. However, the Swiss pushed for a comeback to tie the sets and push the Spaniard to the limit. After almost five hours of playing the Spaniard emerged victorious.
Rafa’s and Roger’s careers may be about to end, but their unforgettable matches in tennis will remain in the minds of tennis fans around the world.