Federer–Nadal rivalry

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Federer serves to Nadal during the 2008 Wimbledon final

The Federer–Nadal rivalry is between two professional tennis players, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain. They are currently engaged in a storied rivalry, which many consider to be one of the greatest in tennis history.[1][2][3][4][5] They have played 33 times, most recently in the 2014 Australian Open Semi-finals, and Nadal leads their ten-year-old rivalry 23–10.[6]

Federer and Nadal are the only pair of men to have finished six consecutive calendar years as the top two ranked players on the ATP Tour, which they did from 2005–2010. This included a record 211 consecutive weeks sharing the top two rankings from July 2005 to August 2009.

Nadal has won 13 of their 15 encounters on clay courts and 9 of their 15 encounters on hard court, whereas Federer has won 2 out of their 3 meetings on grass courts. Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, with the top two seeds placed on opposite sides of the draw, 20 of their 33 matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record 8 Grand Slam finals and 10 Masters Series finals. Another 9 of their matches have been semifinals, 2 have been quarterfinals, with only 2 taking place before the last-8 stage.[7] In 26 matches out of 33 between Nadal and Federer, the winner of the first set won the match.

From 2006 to 2008 they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Their 2008 Wimbledon final was lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.[8][9][10][11]

History[edit]

2004–2005[edit]

Federer and Nadal played their first match in March 2004 at the third round of the Miami Masters.[12] Nadal, only 17 years old and ranked No. 34 at the time,[13] surprised many by beating the then No. 1 in straight sets. Their second meeting was one year later, again in Miami, but this time in a best-of-five-set final. Federer recovered from a two-set deficit to win in five sets.[14]

They played again two months later in the semifinals of the French Open, which was their first match on clay. Nadal defeated Federer in four sets en route to his first Grand Slam title.

2006[edit]

Nadal serves to Federer during the 2006 Wimbledon final.
Federer celebrates his 8th Grand Slam title after a win over Nadal.

In 2006, Nadal and Federer faced each other in six matches.

Nadal won the first four, beginning with the Dubai final in February played on hard court. This was Federer's first loss of the year and ended his Open era record of 56 consecutive wins on hard courts.[15]

The clay season ensued, and Nadal continued his dominance on clay, defeating Federer in the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, the Rome Masters, and the French Open,[16] in what was their first Grand Slam final. Federer won the first set quickly, but Nadal fought back and took the next three sets to capture his second French Open title.[7] In the Rome final Federer held a championship point on his serve in the final set tiebreaker but failed to convert.

They faced off again a month later in the final of the Wimbledon Championships, which was their first meeting on grass. Federer won in four sets to capture his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.[17][18]

They did not meet again until the semifinals of the year-end Masters Cup. Federer won in straight sets, en route to his third Masters Cup title in four years. At year's end, Nadal's career head-to-head advantage was 6–3.

2007[edit]

Federer in the finals of Monte Carlo 2007

Nadal and Federer faced each other five times in 2007, and Federer won three of their matches.

For the second straight year, Federer and Nadal played in three finals on clay. Nadal won the first meeting in straight sets, winning his third consecutive Monte Carlo title. A few weeks later they met at the Hamburg Masters, where Federer defeated Nadal for the first time on clay and ended his 81-match winning streak on clay.

Nadal in the finals of Monte Carlo 2007.

Their next encounter was the French Open final, and Nadal won their much-anticipated rematch in four sets, capturing his third consecutive French Open title.[7]

Their last two meetings in 2007 were also a repeat of 2006: the finals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the Masters Cup. Once again, Federer won both matches, though their Wimbledon final lasted five sets, instead of the previous year's four sets.[19]

2008[edit]

Federer and Nadal played four times in 2008, and Nadal won all four times, extending his career advantage to 12–6. For the third straight year, Federer and Nadal played in three clay-court finals. Nadal beat Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters for the third straight year, capturing his Open era record fourth consecutive title there.[7] A few weeks later Nadal avenged his only clay-court loss to Federer by defeating him in three sets for his first Hamburg Masters title. Federer had double break leads in the first sets of both Monte Carlo and Hamburg but could not close out the sets.

Also for the third straight year, they played in the finals of the French Open. Nadal won his fourth consecutive French Open title, in a lopsided three-set match.[7]

Nadal and Federer also met in the finals of Wimbledon for the third straight year, in the most anticipated match of their rivalry.[20][21][21][22] Amidst rain delays, they played the longest final in Wimbledon history (4 hours and 48 minutes), and Nadal captured the title by winning the fifth set in near darkness.[8][9][10][11] This match broke Federer's Open Era-record 65 match winning streak on grass, which spanned more than five years.[23]

2009[edit]

Federer in the finals of Australian Open 2009.

Federer and Nadal played each other only twice in 2009, splitting their matches.

Both players began the year strong, reaching the finals of the Australian Open. This was the first hard-court Grand Slam final for Nadal, but Federer was undefeated in eight hard-court finals (5 US Open, 3 Australian).[24] The final was a long (4 hours and 23 minutes) and high quality match, with Nadal prevailing in another epic five set match.[5][24][25]

Nadal in the finals of Australian Open 2009

Federer rebounded against Nadal at the Madrid Masters, defeating him in the final in straight sets.[26] This was a pivotal match because it broke Nadal's five-match winning streak against Federer. The victory by Federer also ended Nadal's 33-match winning streak on clay and foreshadowed the Swiss' historic victory at Roland Garros, which completed his Career Grand Slam.

2010[edit]

In 2010, Federer and Nadal played twice, with Nadal winning the first and Federer winning the second match.

The two met in the final of the Madrid Open, one year after their last match, and Nadal defeated Federer in straight sets.

Federer and Nadal met in the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals' final, marking their third meeting at the year-end championships and their first ever meeting in the finals. Federer continued his indoor dominance against Nadal, winning in three sets. This victory gave Federer a record-tying fifth title at the year-end tournament.

Federer and Nadal met in the finals of the Year-End Championships for the first time in 2010.

2011[edit]

Federer and Nadal played four singles matches, with Nadal winning the first three matches and Federer winning the last match. Their lone doubles match was at the BNP Paribas Open. Federer, partnering with Stanislas Wawrinka, defeated Nadal and Marc López in the semifinals.

In their first singles match of 2011, the two met in the semifinals of the Miami Masters, where Nadal won in straight sets.[27]

They met in the semifinal at the Mutua Madrid Open, and Nadal won in three sets.[28]

They then met in the finals of the 2011 French Open, their first Grand Slam meeting since the 2009 Australian Open final. Although it was a competitive match, Nadal again defeated Federer in four sets to win his tenth Major title and sixth French Open crown.[29]

Their final meeting of the year came in the round-robin stage of the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals. Their match, a rematch of the previous year's final, saw Federer win a lopsided match in straight sets.[30]

2012[edit]

Federer defeated Nadal in a memorable first meeting at Indian Wells that included a rain delay on match point.

Federer and Nadal first met during 2012 in the semifinals of the 2012 Australian Open. Nadal improved his hard-court record over Federer with a win in four sets.

They next met in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters, where Federer won the match in straight sets en route to claiming his fourth Indian Wells Masters title.

In August 2012, Nadal revealed his doubt that he would be able to play in the 2012 US Open because of a knee injury which had prevented him from playing since Wimbledon. Federer expressed concern for Nadal,[31] and Nadal ultimately withdrew.

2013[edit]

Federer and Nadal met four times in 2013 with Nadal prevailing on every occasion. Federer and Nadal met for the first time during the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells Masters. It is the earliest the pair have met in a tournament since 2004.[32] Federer entered the match having suffered a back injury[33] in the previous round and was defeated in straight sets. On 1 April, by winning the Miami Masters, Andy Murray passed Federer in the ATP Rankings for second place. This marked the first time since 10 November 2003, that neither Federer nor Nadal was ranked in the ATP top 2,[34] a span of an unprecedented 490 weeks.

Nadal then defeated Federer in the 2013 Rome Masters final in two sets.[35]

They finally played a match at the 2013 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where Nadal unseated the five-time champion in the quarterfinals after Federer played a dazzling first set with crisply struck groundstrokes. At several points Federer had openings in Nadal service games in the second set, including a 0–30 chance, but Nadal came back to win in three sets.

Nadal and Federer met in semi finals of the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals in the O2 arena. Nadal beat Federer in straight sets.

2014[edit]

Federer and Nadal had their first meeting of the season in the semi finals of the Australian Open. Nadal won in straight sets, but went on to lose the final to another Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

Analysis[edit]

Significant aspects[edit]

The rivalry between Federer and Nadal has been a huge part of both men's careers. Their Grand Slam histories are of particular interest, especially their all-time record of eight finals encounters.[7] This includes playing French Open and Wimbledon finals for three consecutive years (2006–08), culminating in what is widely considered the greatest match in tennis history at Wimbledon 2008.[8][9][10][11] Nadal, who had to defeat Federer during each of his first six Grand Slam title runs, possesses a 6–2 advantage in their finals encounters plus three victories in semifinals.

Nadal denied Federer a Career Grand Slam plus two potential Calendar Year Grand Slams (2006–07) by defeating him at the French Open every year from 2005–08. Federer would complete a Career Grand Slam by winning the French title in 2009 after Nadal was upset in the fourth round. Meanwhile, Federer twice denied Nadal from becoming the first man since Björn Borg in 1980 to win the "Channel Slam" (both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year) by defeating him in their first two Wimbledon finals, but Nadal succeeded the following year. This was the first of three combined Channel Slams with Federer accomplishing it in 2009 followed by Nadal's second in 2010. Federer has also prevented Nadal from winning the Year End Championships by defeating him in the 2010 finals and eliminating Nadal from the tournament in the 2006 semifinals and the 2007 semifinals preventing Nadal from becoming only the second man after Andre Agassi to win a Career Grand Slam, a gold singles Olympic medal, and the Year End Championships, a distinction dubbed as a "Career Super Slam" by Sports Illustrated.

Their record six consecutive calendar years atop the rankings from 2005–10 was due to their unprecedented combined performance in the Grand Slam and Masters Series tournaments. During this span they captured a combined record 21 of the 24 Grand Slam titles (12 for Federer, 9 for Nadal), including a record 11 consecutive titles from 2005–07. They also dominated the Masters Series, combining for 31 of the 54 titles (18 for Nadal, 13 for Federer), including 8 of 9 in 2005 (4 each). Additionally, Federer won 4 of 6 year-end tournaments.

Finally, both men not only possess Open era records for consecutive wins on a single surface — Federer on both grass (65) and hard courts (56), Nadal on clay courts (81) — but each of these streaks was broken by the other man. Their respective dominance on grass and clay was the impetus for the "Battle of Surfaces", an exhibition match on a half-grass, half-clay court, which Nadal won in May 2007 when both the grass and clay streaks were still active.[36]

Nearly half of the meetings between Federer and Nadal have come on clay which is statistically Nadal's best surface and one of Federer's weaker surfaces.[37] The same number of meetings occurred on hard courts, where Federer holds an edge in overall career win percentage but still trails Nadal in head-to-head meetings.

Head-to-head tallies[edit]

The following is a breakdown of their head-to-head results:

  • All matches: Nadal, 23–10
  • All finals: Nadal, 14–6
  • Grand Slam matches: Nadal, 9–2
    • Australian Open: Nadal, 3–0
    • French Open: Nadal, 5–0
    • Wimbledon: Federer, 2–1
    • US Open: Have not met
  • Grand Slam finals: Nadal, 6–2
  • Best of five set matches: Nadal, 12–3
    • Five-set matches: Nadal, 3–2
  • Best of three set matches: Nadal, 12–7
  • Outdoor courts: Nadal, 22–6
  • Indoor courts: Federer, 4–1

Results on each court surface[edit]

Hard Court (o) Clay Grass Hard Court (i) Total
Nadal Federer Nadal Federer Nadal Federer Nadal Federer Nadal Federer
Australia Australian Open 3 0 3 0
France Roland Garros 5 0 5 0
United Kingdom Wimbledon 1 2 1 2
United States Indian Wells 1 1 1 1
United States Miami 2 1 2 1
Monaco Monte Carlo 3 0 3 0
Italy Rome 2 0 2 0
Germany Hamburg /
Spain Madrid
3 2 3 2
United States Cincinnati 1 0 1 0
United Arab Emirates Dubai 1 0 1 0
China Tennis Masters Cup /
United Kingdom ATP World Tour Finals
1 4 1 4
Total 8 2 13 2 1 2 1 4 23 10

Clay[edit]

Nadal and Federer have played 15 of their 33 matches on clay with Nadal holding a 13–2 advantage over Federer. From 2005 to 2008, Nadal won every French Open, defeating Federer in each of those tournaments (in the 2005 semifinal and the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 finals), and won at least 2 of the 3 clay Masters events each year from 2005–2010, defeating Federer in 6 of those. Statistically, Nadal has the highest win percentage on clay of any player in ATP history.[37] As a result, some analysts and players, such as Pat Cash and Conchita Martínez, consider Nadal the greatest clay-court player ever.[38] Nadal has won all of their seven meetings in best of five set matches on clay.

Grass[edit]

Federer has won the Wimbledon Championships seven times, and Nadal has won the championships twice. Five of Federer's titles were consecutive titles (from 2003 to 2007), and the sixth and seventh titles were won in 2009 and 2012. Nadal won the title in 2008 and 2010. Federer and Nadal met in three consecutive Wimbledon finals from 2006 to 2008; Federer won the first two finals, while Nadal won the last one. The 2008 Wimbledon final has been lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.[8][9][10][11]

Hard[edit]

Nadal and Federer have played 15 matches on hard courts, with Nadal holding a 9–6 lead. An important distinction is the relative success of the two players on indoor and outdoor hard courts. In the former, Federer leads Nadal with a 4–1 record, while on outdoor hard courts, Nadal leads 8–2. The quicker conditions of the indoor hard courts fit Federer's style while the variable nature of outdoor ones favor Nadal. Federer has defeated Nadal in four out of five encounters they have had at the Year End Championships, including the 2010 final, which are played on indoor hardcourts.Federer has won 9 hard court Grand Slam tournaments and 6 Year End Championships, plus a record six wins at the Cincinnati Masters. Nadal has won a number of important hard court tournaments since 2005, including the 2008 Olympics singles tournament, three Grand Slam tournaments including the 2009 Australian Open final over Federer, and eight Masters Series tournaments.

Despite Nadal's success on hard courts, some analysts[39] have criticized his lack of consistency in reaching tournament finals (especially the U.S.Open finals) for skewing the overall head-to-head results. However, on five occasions at the US Open (in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013), the two players were only one match away from doing battle against each other; twice it was Nadal who failed to set up the meeting, whereas Federer has lost three times before reaching another long-awaited clash with Nadal. The three times that Nadal did make the US Open final, Federer was not there to oppose him (though he was two match points away from doing so on the first two occasions). Nadal has said that Federer is the "favourite" on "these kinds of surfaces" (referring to their match at the 2012 Australian Open).[40] but, out of their first four matches, three were on hard courts, with Nadal winning two of these.[10][41][42]

Skill comparisons[edit]

Federer is considered by some to be the greatest tennis player of all time,[43][44][45] while Nadal's performance on clay has prompted many experts to regard him as the greatest clay court player and one of the best tennis players of all time.[46][47][48]

Given Nadal's superior head to head record against Federer, analysts increasingly recognize that Nadal is naturally a 'bad match-up' for Federer. Federer himself admitted after his defeat by Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open that he has to change his natural style of play to compete against Nadal. Toni Nadal, coach of Nadal throughout his career, confessed that Nadal is the most difficult opponent for Federer, with Nadal's best shot naturally giving Nadal an advantage against Federer's weakest shot (Cross-court forehand to single-handed backhand).

Federer has been more successful than Nadal on fast courts because he hits a flatter forehand and has a faster serve. Indoor hard courts are one of the faster surfaces, so Federer's flatter shots there result in a lower bouncing, faster moving trajectory. Thus, Nadal's topspin is less effective on fast courts such as indoor hard courts, but is the most effective on slow courts, such as clay. Nadal has improved his serving speed and placement over the years, but Federer still serves faster on average and earns more aces and service winners, while Nadal has an overall stronger ground stroke game.[49][50][51]

While Nadal is statistically weaker on hard courts, Nadal has won on hard courts at the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Australian Open, the US Open, and at various Masters series tournaments. In addition, Nadal has won Wimbledon, played on grass courts, twice.

During interviews, people like fellow player Andy Murray and former player and coach Paul Annacone have called Nadal one of the best tennis players ever.[52] In November 2010, former player Björn Borg said that Federer is the greatest player, but "Rafa has the chance to be the greatest player" if he stays healthy.[53] John McEnroe said, "there is an argument to be made that Rafael Nadal may be the greatest player eventually, even possibly now."[53] At the press conference following his 9th record French Open win in 2014 and a total of 14 Slams, three shy of Federer's 17, Nadal said that he really does not care much about records, "I'll follow my own path. Then, when my career is over, then we'll count." [54]

In May 2014, Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, via aljazeera.com: "I'd put Nadal number one and Federer number two. Federer separated himself from the field for four years. He separated himself from Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt. Nadal had to deal with Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray in the golden age of tennis. He has done what he has done and he's not done yet. He has won multiple (majors), every single one (more than once) except the Australian Open – and give him another year on that," Agassi said. "It's just remarkable to me what he has done, and he has done it all during Federer’s prime." [55]

Relationship and competitive dynamic[edit]

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Both Federer and Nadal's personal and professional relationship is good-natured and gracious.[56] Though they are both highly competitive, they maintain a healthy regard for each other and have had virtually no source of personal animosity. The two have made slight criticisms of one another in the past, nevertheless. For example, Federer complained of Nadal's slow, deliberate style of play on the eve of the 2008 Wimbledon final.[57] Nadal criticized Federer before the 2012 Australian Open for his failure to be more vocal about players' grievances on issues such as scheduling and prize money. He subsequently apologized for making his views public, however, and both players maintained that they still enjoyed a good relationship.[58]

Despite their cordial relationship, both men have a somewhat different attitude towards their rivalry. When Federer was securely atop the tennis world he was ambivalent towards the notion of a rivalry with an opponent five years younger than himself.[59][60] But after their memorable 2008 Wimbledon final he had no choice but to acknowledge its significance, even admitting "it definitely becomes more and more special the more times we play against each other."[60] A few weeks later, after Nadal had officially surpassed him in the rankings, Federer offered this compliment: "Look at what he had to achieve to get it. That's what I like to see."[61] Nadal has always cherished the rivalry because he looks up to Federer as both a role model and a measuring stick for success.[62][63]

When interest in their rivalry increased, both Federer and Nadal collaborated to arrange occasional charity exhibition matches to benefit their charities' philanthropic interests. The most recent was the Match for Africa, played on 21 December 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland, which Federer won, and a follow-up match played in Madrid on the following day, titled "Joining Forces for the Benefit of Children", which Nadal won.

Cultural impact[edit]

The rivalry has also increased overall interest in tennis. The highly anticipated 2008 Wimbledon final drew strong television ratings for tennis in both the U.S. and across Europe.[9][64] The match was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which was the first time in years that tennis had made the cover of Sports Illustrated.[10][65]

Pairing Federer and Nadal[edit]

Significant achievements[edit]

  • From the 2003 Wimbledon Championships to the 2011 French Open, Federer and Nadal have won an unprecedented 26 out of 32 Grand Slam titles. In this time, both men have also completed the Career Grand Slam (Nadal has also completed the Career Golden Slam by winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics).
  • From Nadal's first Grand Slam victory at the 2005 French Open until the 2011 French Open, Federer and Nadal had won 22 of 25 Grand Slam titles (12 for Federer, 10 for Nadal). The exceptions were the 2008 and 2011 Australian Open, won by Novak Djokovic, and the 2009 US Open, won by Juan Martín del Potro.
  • Federer and Nadal are the only No. 1 and No. 2 pair in the open era to contest the French Open and Wimbledon men's finals back to back in a calendar year. They are also the only pair in the history of tennis to contest both of these finals back to back for three consecutive years (2006–08).
  • In the history of tennis, Federer and Nadal are the only pair to face each other in eight Grand Slam singles finals (2006–08 Wimbledon, 2006–08, 2011 French Open, 2009 Australian Open) in the span of 6 years. This broke the previous record of seven finals set by Bill Tilden and William Johnston (1919–25 U.S. Championships). Their match at the 2012 Australian Open also marked a record 10th time two players had faced each other in Grand Slam men's singles matches, tying with the record set by John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl.[66] This record has now been surpassed by Federer-Djokovic when they met for the 11th time in a Grand Slam at the 2012 Wimbledon semi-finals.
  • Federer and Nadal are the only No. 1 and No. 2 pair to win 11 consecutive Grand Slam singles tournaments between them (from the 2005 French Open to the 2007 US Open). In this period, Federer won 3 consecutive titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open and 2 consecutive titles at the Australian Open, while Nadal won 3 consecutive French Open titles.
  • During the open era, only two pairs of players have played each other in the final of the same Grand Slam singles tournament three consecutive years: Becker–Edberg (1988–90 Wimbledon) and Federer-Nadal (2006–08 French Open and 2006–08 Wimbledon).
  • Federer and Nadal are the only pair to win at least four consecutive finals at three different Grand Slams during the same period (2005–08 and 2010–13 French Open for Nadal, 2003–07 Wimbledon and 2004–08 US Open for Federer).
  • From the 2004 Wimbledon Championships to the 2011 French Open, at least one of them appeared in 25 of 28 Grand Slams finals, winning all of them except the 2005 Australian Open, the 2008 Australian Open, the 2011 Australian Open, and the 2009 US Open.
  • Federer and Nadal have combined to win 8 consecutive Wimbledon (2003–10) and 10 consecutive French Open (2005–14).
  • Federer and Nadal won the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open trio for 4 consecutive years (2005–08).
  • During the open era, only 7 pairs of players have met each other in the final of 3 or more different Grand Slams, Lendl–Wilander (1983 Australian Open, 1985 French Open, 1987 US Open), Becker–Lendl (1986 Wimbledon Championships, 1989 US Open, 1991 Australian Open), Agassi–Sampras (1990 US Open, 1995 Australian Open, 1999 Wimbledon Championships), Federer-Nadal (2006 French Open, 2006 Wimbledon Championships, 2009 Australian Open), Djokovic–Nadal (2010 US Open, 2011 Wimbledon Championships, 2012 Australian Open, 2012 French Open), Federer–Murray (2008 US Open, 2010 Australian Open, 2012 Wimbledon Championships) and Djokovic–Murray (2011 Australian Open, 2012 US Open, 2013 Wimbledon Championships).
  • Of the four occasions on which two players who have completed career Grand Slams have faced each other at a Grand Slam, two (the 2011 French Open final and the 2012 Australian Open semifinal) have involved Federer and Nadal; the other two involved Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.[66]
  • Nadal and Federer had never both been beaten by a third player in Grand Slam finals until the 2009 US Open, when Juan Martín del Potro defeated both Nadal and Federer en route to claiming the title.
  • The only players to ever defeat both Federer and Nadal at any Grand Slam event were Juan Martín del Potro (2009 US Open) and Novak Djokovic (2011 US Open).
  • As of 2013, Federer and Nadal are yet to play a match against each other at the US Open.

List of all matches[edit]

ATP, Davis Cup, and Grand Slam main draw results included.

Legend (2004–2008) Legend (2009–present) Federer Nadal
Grand Slam Grand Slam 2 9
Tennis Masters Cup ATP World Tour Finals 4 1
ATP Masters Series ATP World Tour Masters 1000 4 12
ATP International Series Gold ATP World Tour 500 Series 0 1
ATP International Series ATP World Tour 250 Series 0 0
Davis Cup Davis Cup 0 0
Olympics Olympics 0 0
Total 10 23

Singles[edit]

Federer–Nadal (10–23)

No. Year Tournament Surface Round Winner Score Length (H:MM) Sets Federer Nadal
1. 2004 United States Miami Hard R32 Nadal 6–3, 6–3 1:10 2/3 0 1
2. 2005 United States Miami Hard Final Federer 2–6, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 6–1 3:43 5/5 1 1
3. 2005 France Roland Garros Clay Semi-final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3 2:47 4/5 1 2
4. 2006 United Arab Emirates Dubai Hard Final Nadal 2–6, 6–4, 6–4 1:53 3/3 1 3
5. 2006 Monaco Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6–2, 6–7(2–7), 6–3, 7–6(7–5) 3:50 4/5 1 4
6. 2006 Italy Rome Clay Final Nadal 6–7(0–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7–5) 5:05 5/5 1 5
7. 2006 France Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4) 3:02 4/5 1 6
8. 2006 United Kingdom Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3 2:58 4/5 2 6
9. 2006 China Tennis Masters Cup Hard (i) Semi-final Federer 6–4, 7–5 1:53 2/3 3 6
10. 2007 Monaco Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4 1:35 2/3 3 7
11. 2007 Germany Hamburg Clay Final Federer 2–6, 6–2, 6–0 1:55 3/3 4 7
12. 2007 France Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4 3:10 4/5 4 8
13. 2007 United Kingdom Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–2 3:45 5/5 5 8
14. 2007 China Tennis Masters Cup Hard (i) Semi-final Federer 6–4, 6–1 0:59 2/3 6 8
15. 2008 Monaco Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 7–5 1:43 2/3 6 9
16. 2008 Germany Hamburg Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 6–7(3–7), 6–3 2:52 3/3 6 10
17. 2008 France Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 6–1, 6–3, 6–0 1:48 3/5 6 11
18. 2008 United Kingdom Wimbledon Grass Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7 4:48 5/5 6 12
19. 2009 Australia Australian Open Hard Final Nadal 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2 4:23 5/5 6 13
20. 2009 Spain Madrid Clay Final Federer 6–4, 6–4 1:26 2/3 7 13
21. 2010 Spain Madrid Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 7–6(7–5) 2:10 2/3 7 14
22. 2010 United Kingdom ATP World Tour Finals Hard (i) Final Federer 6–3, 3–6, 6–1 1:37 3/3 8 14
23. 2011 United States Miami Hard Semi-final Nadal 6–3, 6–2 1:18 2/3 8 15
24. 2011 Spain Madrid Clay Semi-final Nadal 5–7, 6–1, 6–3 2:36 3/3 8 16
25. 2011 France Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1 3:40 4/5 8 17
26. 2011 United Kingdom ATP World Tour Finals Hard (i) RR Federer 6–3, 6–0 1:00 2/3 9 17
27. 2012 Australia Australian Open Hard Semi-final Nadal 6–7(5–7), 6–2, 7–6(7–5), 6–4 3:42 4/5 9 18
28. 2012 United States Indian Wells Hard Semi-final Federer 6–3, 6–4 1:31 2/3 10 18
29. 2013 United States Indian Wells Hard Quarter-final Nadal 6–4, 6–2 1:24 2/3 10 19
30. 2013 Italy Rome Clay Final Nadal 6–1, 6–3 1:08 2/3 10 20
31. 2013 United States Cincinnati Hard Quarter-final Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–3 2:14 3/3 10 21
32. 2013 United Kingdom ATP World Tour Finals Hard (i) Semi-final Nadal 7–5, 6–3 1:19 2/3 10 22
33. 2014 Australia Australian Open Hard Semi-final Nadal 7–6(7–4), 6–3, 6–3 2:24 3/5 10 23

Records[edit]

  • Only pair in Open Era history to have met 8 times in Grand Slam finals
  • Only pair in Open Era history to have met 4 times in finals at one Slam (at the French Open)
  • This rivalry is ranked eighth in terms of matches played in Open Era

Doubles[edit]

Federer—Nadal (1–2)

No. Year Tournament Surface Round Winner Score Opponents Federer Nadal
1. 2004 United States Indian Wells Hard R32 Nadal/Robredo 5–7, 6–4, 6–3 Federer/Allegro 0 1
2. 2007 Italy Rome Clay R32 Nadal/Moyá 6–4, 7–6(7–5) Federer/Wawrinka 0 2
3. 2011 United States Indian Wells Hard Semi-final Federer/Wawrinka 7–5, 6–3 Nadal/M. López 1 2

Exhibitions[edit]

Federer—Nadal (2–5)

On 21 November 2006 they played an exhibition match on a hard court in Seoul, South Korea. Federer won 6–3, 3–6, 6–3.[67]

On 2 May 2007 they played in the "Battle of Surfaces" on a hybrid court that was half clay and half grass. This match was held at the Palma Arena in Palma, the capital city of Nadal's native Mallorca. Nadal won 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(12–10).[68]

On 21 December 2010 they played in Zurich, Switzerland on a hard court a charity tennis match for the Roger Federer Foundation. Federer won 4–6, 6–3, 6–3. They played another exhibition match on 22 December 2010 in Madrid, Spain. Nadal won 7–6(7–3), 4–6, 6–1. This was a charity tennis match for the Fundación Rafa Nadal (Rafael Nadal Foundation).

On 1 January 2011 they played in the final of the knockout exhibition tournament; the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on a hard court. Federer had beaten Söderling in the previous round and Nadal had beaten Berdych in the previous round. Nadal won the encounter by a score of 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–3).

On 8 March 2011 the two played a set at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Nadal won the charity exhibition 7–5.

On 31 December 2011 they played again at Mubadala 2011 Mubadala World Tennis Championship (December) on a hard court, this time for third place. Nadal won again 6–1, 7–5.

Performance timeline comparison (Grand Slam tournaments)[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR LQ (Q#) A P Z# PO SF-B F S G NMS NH

Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.

To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.

  • Bold = players met during this tournament

By Year[edit]

1999–2004[edit]

Player 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer LQ 1R 1R LQ 3R 4R 1R 3R 3R QF QF 4R 4R 1R 1R 4R 4R 1R W 4R W 3R W W
Spain Rafael Nadal A A 3R 2R 3R A A 3R

2005–2010[edit]

Player 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer SF SF W W W F W W W F W W SF F F W F W W F W QF QF SF
Spain Rafael Nadal 4R W 2R 3R A W F QF QF W F 4R SF W W SF W 4R A SF QF W W W

2011–2014[edit]

Player 2011 2012 2013 2014
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer SF F QF SF SF SF W QF SF QF 2R 4R SF 4R F SF
Spain Rafael Nadal QF W F F F W 2R A A W 1R W F W 4R A

By Age (end of season)[edit]

18–22[edit]

Player 18 19 20 21 22
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer Q1 1R 1R Q2 3R 4R 1R 3R 3R QF QF 4R 4R 1R 1R 4R 4R 1R W 4R
Spain Rafael Nadal 3R A A 2R 4R W 2R 3R A W F QF QF W F 4R SF W W SF

23–27[edit]

Player 23 24 25 26 27
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer W 3R W W SF SF W W W F W W W F W W SF F F W
Spain Rafael Nadal W 4R A SF QF W W W QF W F F F W 2R A A W 1R W

28–32[edit]

Player 28 29 30 31 32
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer F W W F W QF QF SF SF F QF SF SF SF W QF SF QF 2R 4R
Spain Rafael Nadal F W 4R A

33–37[edit]

Player 33 34 35 36 37
AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA AUS FRA WIM USA
Switzerland Roger Federer SF 4R F SF
Spain Rafael Nadal

Career evolution[edit]

Federer and Nadal were born just under four years and 10 months apart. Federer's birthday is 8 August 1981, while Nadal's is 3 June 1986. A different viewpoint of their career evolution is offered by taking the season they entered with an age of 17 as starting point, and comparing their accomplishments at the same age. For instance in 2004, Federer finished the season being 23 years old, having accumulated a career record of four Major titles and a total of 22 singles titles, and ranked No.1. By comparison, Nadal finished the 2009 season also aged 23, having accumulated six Major titles and 36 singles titles in total, and ranked No.2.

Age at end of season 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Switzerland Federer's season 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Spain Nadal's season 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Grand Slam titles Federer 0 0 0 0 1 4 6 9 12 13 15 16 16 17 17 17
Nadal 0 1 2 3 5 6 9 10 11 13 14
Grand Slam match wins Federer 0 7 20 26 39 61 85 112 138 162 188 208 228 247 260 274
Nadal 6 19 36 56 80 95 120 143 157 171 187
Total titles Federer 0 0 1 4 11 22 33 45 53 57 61 66 70 76 77 (80)
Nadal 1 12 17 23 31 36 43 46 50 60 (64)
Total match wins Federer 15 51 100 158 236 310 391 483 551 617 678 743 807 878 923 (964)
Nadal 45 124 183 253 335 401 472 541 583 658 (702)
Ranking Federer 64 29 13 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 6 (3)
Nadal 51 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 1 (2)
Weeks at number 1 Federer 0 0 0 0 0 48 100 152 204 237 262 285 285 302 302 (302)
Nadal 0 0 0 0 19 46 76 102 102 115 (141)

Titles by tournaments played comparison[edit]

Another way to view their respective careers and evolution is to look at the progression of titles won by the number of tournaments played to win each of their titles at each level of competition including Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (formerly ATP Masters Series), ATP World Tour Finals (formerly Tennis Masters Cup), Olympic Games, ATP World Tour 500 Series (formerly ATP International Series Gold), and ATP World Tour 250 Series (formerly ATP International Series). For example, Federer won his 14th Grand Slam title at his 40th Grand Slam Tournament, while Nadal won his 14th at his 38th Grand Slam Tournament.

Singles title # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Federer won at Grand Slam # 17 19 21 22 25 26 27 29 30 31 33 34 38 40 41 43 53
Nadal 6 9 13 17 18 20 24 25 26 28 32 34 36 38
Federer won at ATP Masters 1000 # 22 35 38 39 41 42 44 45 46 47 50 52 57 59 75 77 84 94 95 97 99 112
Nadal 10 11 12 14 17 18 22 24 25 33 35 36 40 42 43 51 52 53 59 67 69 70 72 73 74 75 81
Federer won at ATP Tour Finals # 2 3 5 6 9 10
Nadal
Federer won at Olympic Games #
Nadal 1
Federer won at ATP 500 event # 12 14 15 17 18 19 21 22 25 27 28 29 35
Nadal 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 15 17 19 20 22 23 24 26
Federer won at ATP 250 event # 23 30 40 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 62 63 66 69
Nadal 11 18 21 22 30 40 41

Federer–Nadal Grand Slam era[edit]

Year Australian Open French Open Wimbledon US Open
2003 United States Andre Agassi Spain Juan Carlos Ferrero Switzerland Roger Federer United States Andy Roddick
2004 Switzerland Roger Federer Argentina Gastón Gaudio Switzerland Roger Federer Switzerland Roger Federer
2005 Russia Marat Safin Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer Switzerland Roger Federer
2006 Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer Switzerland Roger Federer
2007 Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer Switzerland Roger Federer
2008 Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer
2009 Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer Switzerland Roger Federer Argentina Juan Martín del Potro
2010 Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal Spain Rafael Nadal Spain Rafael Nadal
2011 Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic Serbia Novak Djokovic
2012 Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer United Kingdom Andy Murray
2013 Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal United Kingdom Andy Murray Spain Rafael Nadal
2014 Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic Croatia Marin Čilić

Combined singles performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open Q1 3R 3R 4R 4R W SF W W SF W W SF F SF F 5 / 15
French Open 1R 4R QF 1R 1R 3R W W W W W W W W W W 10 / 16
Wimbledon 1R 1R QF 1R W W W W W W W W F W 2R F 9 / 16
US Open Q2 3R 4R 4R 4R W W W W W F W F QF W SF 7 / 15

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]