The 34th edition of “Fedal” didn’t happen today in the Indian Wells semifinals, but Roger Federer praise for his rival Rafael Nadal yesterday shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Federer, who is down 23-10 to Nadal, spoke of how important rivalries are to the sport.
“I think it’s nice and it’s good for the game to have rivalries, preferably a few, but you can only always focus on a couple probably,” Federer said Friday. “But what I like about tennis is that you can have great careers side by side. If you looked at what happened the last ten years or so, Novak, myself, Rafa, also Murray and all the other guys, there are so many guys who did such great careers and we achieved so much, and at the same time.”
Federer then talked about his first meeting with Nadal, a 63, 63 loss in the 2004 Miami third round. And he said he knew then the kid would be something great.
“In the beginning clearly I tried to fight it, to not accept it that he was my rival, that I did have a rival, because I was playing so well in 2004 and then ’05. But very quickly did I realize of course when he beat me the first time in Miami that this wasn’t just a fluke. This was, you know, probably a legend in the making.
“You know, he’s been around forever. He’s created things that are just mind blowing. You know, Monaco record, French Open record, and many others. Yeah, I think it’s been actually very cool playing against him over all these years, and I’m sure it’s made me a better player throughout. I hope I did a little bit of the same against him.
“But for me, definitely I had to try to come up with different game plans, maybe practice with more lefties as I went along in my career, and that helped me to improve certain things in my game, for sure.”
Nadal has since dominated Federer winning 23 of 33 meetings including nine of 11 in Grand Slam play.
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