The Federer–Nadal rivalry is considered by many to be the greatest in tennis history.[a] Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal currently occupy the two top spots in the ATP Rankings and are widely regarded as the two greatest tennis players of all time.
They have played each other 38 times, most recently in the final of the 2017 Shanghai Masters, with Nadal leading 23–15. Nadal has won 9 of their 12 meetings in majors. Nadal leads 5–0 at the French Open and 3–1 at the Australian Open, while Federer leads 2–1 at Wimbledon. The two have yet to meet in the US Open. In Grand Slam finals, Nadal leads Federer 6–3. Of their 38 matches, 20 have been on hard court, 15 have been on clay, and three have been on grass. Nadal dominates on clay (13–2), while Federer has the edge on both hard courts (11–9) and grass (2–1).
Federer with 20 total major titles, and Nadal with 17, are first and second on the men's all-time list for the most majors titles, and hold numerous other records between them. Together they have won 11 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, from the 2005 French Open to the 2007 US Open, and another 6 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments from the 2017 Australian Open to the 2018 French Open. They 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 to 2010 and seven times overall, including 2017. This includes a record 211 consecutive weeks sharing the top two rankings from July 2005 to August 2009.
As tournament seedings are based on rankings, with the top two seeds placed on opposite sides of the draw, 24 of Nadal and Federer's 38 matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record nine Grand Slam finals and 12 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals. Another nine have been semifinals, two have been quarterfinals, with only three taking place before the last-8 stage. In 31 out of 38 matches between Nadal and Federer, the winner of the first set won the match. The 2006 Italian Open final, 2007 Wimbledon final, 2008 Wimbledon final, 2009 Australian Open final and 2017 Australian Open final are classified as the greatest and most notable matches in their rivalry, with each match going to five sets.
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.[b] Their 2017 Australian Open final was one of the more highly anticipated major finals in tennis history, in part due to the relevance within popular discussions on their placement in greatest of all time listings.[c]
- 1 History
- 1.1 2004: Miami
- 1.2 2005: Miami, French Open
- 1.3 2006: Dubai, Monte Carlo, Rome, French Open, Wimbledon, Masters Cup
- 1.4 2007: Monte Carlo, Hamburg, French Open, Wimbledon, Masters Cup
- 1.5 2008: Monte Carlo, Hamburg, French Open, Wimbledon
- 1.6 2009: Australian Open, Madrid
- 1.7 2010: Madrid, World Tour Finals
- 1.8 2011: Miami, Madrid, French Open, World Tour Finals
- 1.9 2012: Australian Open, Indian Wells
- 1.10 2013: Indian Wells, Rome, Cincinnati, World Tour Finals
- 1.11 2014: Australian Open
- 1.12 2015: Basel
- 1.13 2017: Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Shanghai
- 2 List of all head-to-head matches
- 3 Analysis
- 3.1 Significant aspects
- 3.2 Comparison of Grand Slam tournament titles
- 3.3 Comparison of Masters 1000 titles
- 3.4 Comparison of Year-End Championships
- 3.5 Head-to-head tallies
- 3.6 Skill comparisons
- 3.7 Media and player commentary
- 4 Relationship and competitive dynamic
- 5 Pairing Federer and Nadal
- 6 Records
- 7 Miscellaneous
- 8 Performance timeline comparison
- 9 Career evolution
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Federer and Nadal played their first match in March 2004 at the third round of the Miami Masters. Nadal, only 17 years old and ranked No. 34 at the time, surprised many by beating the then No. 1 in straight sets.
2005: Miami, French Open
2006: Dubai, Monte Carlo, Rome, French Open, Wimbledon, Masters Cup
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.
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, 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. In the Rome final, Federer held two championship points on Nadal's serve at 5–6 in the fifth set, but failed to convert. Federer then led 5–3 in the fifth-set tiebreaker, but Nadal won the next four points to claim the title. At five hours and five minutes, this is the longest match Federer and Nadal have ever contested.
They faced off again a month later in the final of Wimbledon, which was their first meeting on grass. Federer won in four sets to capture his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title with two sets going to tiebreakers.
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 had risen to 6–3.
2007: Monte Carlo, Hamburg, French Open, Wimbledon, Masters Cup
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, ending Nadal's 81-match winning streak on clay.
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.. Also, their Masters Cup match was the shortest match of their rivalry, lasting less than an hour.
By the end of the year Federer narrowed the head-to-head record to 6–8.
2008: Monte Carlo, Hamburg, French Open, Wimbledon
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. 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 final of the French Open. Nadal won his fourth consecutive French Open title, by a score of 6–1, 6–3, 6–0. The scoreline puts the match among the most one-sided in Grand Slam finals history.
Nadal and Federer also met in the final of Wimbledon for the third straight year, in the most anticipated match of their rivalry. Amidst rain delays, they played the longest final in Wimbledon history (4 hours and 48 minutes), and Nadal captured the title, winning a fifth set that finished in near darkness. This match broke Federer's Open-Era-record 65-match winning streak on grass, which spanned more than five years.
2009: Australian Open, Madrid
Federer and Nadal played each other only twice in 2009, splitting their matches.
Both players began the year strong, reaching the final of the Australian Open. This was the first hard-court Grand Slam final for Nadal, but Federer was undefeated in eight hard-court finals (five US Open, three Australian). The final was long (4 hours and 23 minutes) and competitive in the first four sets, with Nadal pulling away decisively in the fifth set to secure his first hard-court championship.
Federer rebounded against Nadal at the Madrid Masters (their first match on Spanish soil), defeating him in the final in straight sets. 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 the French Open, which completed his Career Grand Slam.
2010: Madrid, World Tour Finals
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.
2011: Miami, Madrid, French Open, World Tour Finals
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.
They met in the semifinals at the Mutua Madrid Open, and Nadal won in three sets.
They then met in the final of the 2011 French Open, their first Grand Slam tournament meeting since the 2009 Australian Open final. Although it was a competitive match, Nadal again defeated Federer in four sets to win his tenth Grand Slam title and sixth French Open crown. This denied Federer an opportunity to become the first man in the open era to have won all four Grand Slam tournaments twice. This would be their last meeting at a Grand Slam final until the 2017 Australian Open final.
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.
2012: Australian Open, Indian Wells
Federer and Nadal first met during 2012 in the semifinals of the 2012 Australian Open. Federer was leading by a set and a break before a 20-minute fireworks delay due to the celebrations of Australia Day. After the delay, Nadal came back to win in four sets, improving his hard-court record over Federer.
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.
2013: Indian Wells, Rome, Cincinnati, World Tour Finals
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 was the earliest the pair had met in a tournament since 2004, with Nadal winning 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, a span of an unprecedented 490 weeks.
They finally played in the quarterfinals at the 2013 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where Nadal unseated the five-time champion in the quarterfinals in three sets. Federer had just switched back to his old racquet after experimenting with a larger frame in his previous two tournaments.
Nadal and Federer met in semifinals of the indoor event, 2013 ATP World Tour Finals in the O2 arena. Nadal beat Federer in straight sets. This was Nadal's first win over Federer on indoor hard courts. This would also be Federer's last career match played with his 90-inch racquet before upgrading to a larger frame.
2014: Australian Open
Federer and Nadal had their only meeting of the 2014 season in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Nadal won in straight sets and improved his record to 3–0 against Federer at the Australian Open (9–2 overall in majors). This was the first Grand Slam tournament that Federer played after switching to a new larger racquet.
In November 2015, Federer defeated Nadal in three sets in the final of the Swiss Indoors. This was their first encounter on Swiss soil, as Federer captured a seventh title in his hometown of Basel. It was Federer's first victory over Nadal in over 3 and a half years, having lost the previous five meetings.
2017: Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Shanghai
Federer and Nadal played four times in 2017, with Federer prevailing on all four occasions. This marked the first time in their rivalry that Federer confronted and went undefeated against Nadal multiple times in a single tennis season.
The rivalry was renewed in the 2017 Australian Open final, their first meeting in a Grand Slam final since 2011. Federer, returning from a six-month layoff from knee injury that saw him miss out most of the 2016 season, came into the tournament seeded 17th, and Nadal seeded 9th. Prior to the match, Nadal had won every match between the two in a Grand Slam tournament since the Wimbledon final in 2007, three of which were in the Australian Open. Federer came back from a break down in the fifth set to take the match, becoming the first man in history to win 18 Grand Slam singles titles and the first man to win at least five titles in three different Grand Slam tournaments each, and denying Nadal's third effort to win the Australian Open title again and also his second opportunity to become the first man in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam tournament in men's singles at least twice. Federer's victory over Nadal in the Australian Open 2017 final also marked his first win over Nadal in a Grand Slam singles match outside the grass courts of Wimbledon.
They met again at Indian Wells in the round of 16, only their second-ever meeting before the quarterfinal stage in any tournament. Federer prevailed in straight sets; it was the first time he had won three matches in a row against Nadal.
Their 37th meeting came in the Miami final. This was their first meeting in a final on American soil since the 2005 Miami final, and Federer won in straight sets, his 4th consecutive win over Nadal.
Federer and Nadal met at the Shanghai Masters for the first time, contesting the final. Federer won in straight sets, claiming a fifth consecutive win over Nadal. This was the first time they had contested a match as the top two ranked players in the world since the 2010 ATP Finals.
Federer's newfound success against Nadal has been ascribed to the improvement in the backhand, which he has been hitting harder and more easily returning Nadal's high bouncing forehand with the larger racquet.
List of all head-to-head matches
|Legend (2004–2008)||Legend (2009–present)||Federer||Nadal|
|Grand Slam||Grand Slam||3||9|
|Tennis Masters Cup||ATP World Tour Finals||4||1|
|ATP Masters Series||ATP World Tour Masters 1000||7||12|
|ATP International Series Gold||ATP World Tour 500 Series||1||1|
|1.||2004||Miami Open||Masters||Hard||Round of 32||Nadal||6–3, 6–3||1:10||2/3||0||1|
|2.||2005||Miami Open||Masters||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||Roland Garros||Major||Clay||Semifinals||Nadal||6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3||2:47||4/5||1||2|
|4.||2006||Dubai Championships||500||Hard||Final||Nadal||2–6, 6–4, 6–4||1:53||3/3||1||3|
|5.||2006||Monte-Carlo Masters||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–2, 6–7(2–7), 6–3, 7–6(7–5)||3:50||4/5||1||4|
|6.||2006||Italian Open||Masters||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||Roland Garros||Major||Clay||Final||Nadal||1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)||3:02||4/5||1||6|
|8.||2006||Wimbledon||Major||Grass||Final||Federer||6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3||2:58||4/5||2||6|
|9.||2006||Tennis Masters Cup||Tour Finals||Hard (i)||Semifinals||Federer||6–4, 7–5||1:53||2/3||3||6|
|10.||2007||Monte-Carlo Masters||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–4, 6–4||1:35||2/3||3||7|
|11.||2007||Hamburg Masters||Masters||Clay||Final||Federer||2–6, 6–2, 6–0||1:55||3/3||4||7|
|12.||2007||Roland Garros||Major||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4||3:10||4/5||4||8|
|13.||2007||Wimbledon||Major||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||Tennis Masters Cup||Tour Finals||Hard (i)||Semifinals||Federer||6–4, 6–1||0:59||2/3||6||8|
|15.||2008||Monte-Carlo Masters||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||7–5, 7–5||1:43||2/3||6||9|
|16.||2008||Hamburg Masters||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||7–5, 6–7(3–7), 6–3||2:52||3/3||6||10|
|17.||2008||Roland Garros||Major||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–1, 6–3, 6–0||1:48||3/5||6||11|
|18.||2008||Wimbledon||Major||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||Australian Open||Major||Hard||Final||Nadal||7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2||4:23||5/5||6||13|
|20.||2009||Madrid Open||Masters||Clay||Final||Federer||6–4, 6–4||1:26||2/3||7||13|
|21.||2010||Madrid Open||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–4, 7–6(7–5)||2:10||2/3||7||14|
|22.||2010||ATP World Tour Finals||Tour Finals||Hard (i)||Final||Federer||6–3, 3–6, 6–1||1:37||3/3||8||14|
|23.||2011||Miami Open||Masters||Hard||Semifinals||Nadal||6–3, 6–2||1:18||2/3||8||15|
|24.||2011||Madrid Open||Masters||Clay||Semifinals||Nadal||5–7, 6–1, 6–3||2:36||3/3||8||16|
|25.||2011||Roland Garros||Major||Clay||Final||Nadal||7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1||3:40||4/5||8||17|
|26.||2011||ATP World Tour Finals||Tour Finals||Hard (i)||Round Robin||Federer||6–3, 6–0||1:00||2/3||9||17|
|27.||2012||Australian Open||Major||Hard||Semifinals||Nadal||6–7(5–7), 6–2, 7–6(7–5), 6–4||3:42||4/5||9||18|
|28.||2012||Indian Wells Masters||Masters||Hard||Semifinals||Federer||6–3, 6–4||1:31||2/3||10||18|
|29.||2013||Indian Wells Masters||Masters||Hard||Quarterfinals||Nadal||6–4, 6–2||1:24||2/3||10||19|
|30.||2013||Italian Open||Masters||Clay||Final||Nadal||6–1, 6–3||1:08||2/3||10||20|
|31.||2013||Cincinnati Masters||Masters||Hard||Quarterfinals||Nadal||5–7, 6–4, 6–3||2:14||3/3||10||21|
|32.||2013||ATP World Tour Finals||Tour Finals||Hard (i)||Semifinals||Nadal||7–5, 6–3||1:19||2/3||10||22|
|33.||2014||Australian Open||Major||Hard||Semifinals||Nadal||7–6(7–4), 6–3, 6–3||2:24||3/5||10||23|
|34.||2015||Swiss Indoors||500||Hard (i)||Final||Federer||6–3, 5–7, 6–3||2:03||3/3||11||23|
|35.||2017||Australian Open||Major||Hard||Final||Federer||6–4, 3–6, 6–1, 3–6, 6–3||3:37||5/5||12||23|
|36.||2017||Indian Wells Masters||Masters||Hard||Round of 16||Federer||6–2, 6–3||1:08||2/3||13||23|
|37.||2017||Miami Open||Masters||Hard||Final||Federer||6–3, 6–4||1:34||2/3||14||23|
|38.||2017||Shanghai Masters||Masters||Hard||Final||Federer||6–4, 6–3||1:12||2/3||15||23|
|1.||2004||Indian Wells Masters||Hard||Round of 32||Nadal/Robredo||5–7, 6–4, 6–3||Federer/Allegro||0||1|
|2.||2007||Italian Open||Clay||Round of 32||Nadal/Moyá||6–4, 7–6(7–5)||Federer/Wawrinka||0||2|
|3.||2011||Indian Wells Masters||Hard||Semifinals||Federer/Wawrinka||7–5, 6–3||Nadal/M. López||1||2|
As a pair (1–0)
|1.||2017||Laver Cup||Hard (i)||Day 2||Federer/Nadal||6–4, 1–6, [10–5]||Querrey/Sock||1||0|
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).
On 21 December 2010 they played in Zürich, 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 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.
On 12 December 2015 they played two matches in New Delhi, India at 2015 International Premier Tennis League season on a hard court. Nadal won both a set of singles against Federer 6–5(7–4) and, paired with Rohan Bopanna, a doubles set against Roger Federer and Marin Cilic 6–4 to lead the Indian Aces to a 30–19 victory over the UAE Royals.
The rivalry between Federer and Nadal has been a huge part of both men's careers. Their Grand Slam tournament histories are of particular interest, especially their all-time record of nine finals encounters. This includes playing French Open and Wimbledon finals for three consecutive years (2006–08), culminating in what many consider the greatest match in tennis history at Wimbledon 2008. Nadal, who had to defeat Federer during each of his first six Grand Slam title runs, possesses a 6–3 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 and 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. In their latest grand slam match in the 2017 Australian Open final, Federer won a record-breaking 18th singles major while denying Nadal's second opportunity (the 2014 Australian Open final was the first) to become the first man in the Open Era to have won each of the Grand Slam tournaments twice in men's singles.
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 tournament 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 player. 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 with a 12–10 in the deciding tiebreak in May 2007 when both the grass and clay streaks were still active.
Of their 38 matches, 20 have been on hard court, 15 have been on clay, and 3 have been on grass. Federer has a winning record on his best surface, grass (2–1), and on hard court (11–9) while Nadal leads on his best surface, clay (13–2). Nadal leads in Grand Slam tournament matches (9–3), with five of these wins coming on the clay courts at the French Open.
Analysts, commentators and pundits increasingly recognize that Nadal is a bad matchup for Federer, as the heavy topspin created by Nadal's groundstrokes combined with his strategy of directing the majority of his serves and groundstrokes to Federer's single-handed backhand keeps Federer on the defensive and makes it harder for Federer to use his aggressive groundstrokes to dominate baseline rallies as he typically does against other opponents. Federer says he is a "different player due to Nadal's presence" citing Nadal's game as a major reason for improvements in areas of his own game.
There are several factors to consider in analyzing the head-to-head tally between Nadal and Federer. Nadal's head-to-head advantage is built on his ability to dominate on clay whilst remaining competitive on the other two surfaces. Nadal leads by a 13–2 margin on clay, which is statistically his strongest surface and Federer's weakest, while the record on the other two surfaces combined currently stands at 13–10 in Federer's favour.
From 2004 to 2007, the rivalry stood at 8–6 in Nadal's favour, though Federer led on both grass (2–0) and hardcourt (3–2), as most of their matches were played on clay, where Nadal led 6–1. However, from 2008 to 2014 Australian Open, with Federer seeing a considerable decline in form in 2008 having passed his most dominant years, Nadal compiled a lopsided 15–4 record, leading on each surface, grass (1–0), hard (7–3) and clay (7–1). Since then, after they played only one match in the next three years, Federer has dominated the rivalry with a 5–0 record. Federer has stated that early defeats to Nadal on clay courts had a long lasting mental effect on him in his matches against Nadal on other surfaces, and that the lopsided loss at 2008 French open affected him in his first two sets at 2008 Wimbledon final. After his win over Nadal at 2017 Shanghai masters final, Federer credited his 2017 success on Nadal to bigger racquet frame and avoiding claycourt meetings against him since 2013.
There is debate as to how much of a role sickness and injury have played in the rivalry. Federer contracted mononucleosis in late December 2007 which lasted, according to his doctors, for at least six weeks. Some believe that the after-effects of the illness were with him throughout the year though there is some evidence that he was over the illness by March, a month before the first of their matches. Nevertheless, as Chris Bowers wrote in his biography of Federer, Federer "may well have had a very mild dose, but, looking back on Federer's 2008, the fact that he played through it means it is medically quite plausible that it robbed him of strength for the first half of the year". Federer also suffered from a back injury in 2013. During these years when Federer had mononucleosis (2008) and the significant year-long back injury (2013), he went 0–8 against Nadal which significantly skewed their head to head record.
Another aspect that has shaped their rivalry has been that of racquet equipment. Nadal has always used a large 100 square inch racquet, however, Federer used a significantly smaller 90 inch racquet in their matches from 2004–2013. This was the size Federer had always played with since a youth, but in an age of increasing power tennis this substantially smaller racquet put him at a disadvantage. During the period in which Nadal enjoyed this advantage in racquet equipment he compiled a 22–10 record. In early 2014 Federer began experimenting with a larger frame and played Nadal in just his second tournament using this larger prototype. Nadal won this match and took his advantage to 23–10. However, since Federer committed to his new 97.5 inch Wilson Prostaff he has flipped their rivalry upside down going an undefeated 5–0 in their matches with equally modern racquet equipment. Many analysts have claimed that Federer's switch to a modern sized racquet and his subsequent dominance, in addition to the vast improvements it has made to his single handed backhand, have proven that he was playing with a handicap for most of their rivalry.
Comparison of Grand Slam tournament titles
As of October 2018 Roger Federer holds the all-time record for the most Grand Slam tournament titles with 20. Federer's Grand Slam tournament titles include 11 on hard courts, 8 on grass, and 1 on clay. Nadal is second on the all-time list for the most Grand Slam titles with 17 in total: 11 on clay, 4 on hard courts, and 2 on grass.
Both players have won the Career Grand Slam (winning all four majors at least once).
- Bold indicates outright record holder
Comparison of Masters 1000 titles
Rafael Nadal holds a record 33 Masters 1000 titles, with 24 of his titles on clay and 9 on hard courts. Roger Federer has 27, with 21 coming on hardcourts and 6 on clay. Federer is missing two Masters 1000 titles, both of which are played on clay (Monte Carlo and Rome) while Nadal is missing two Masters 1000 titles (Miami and Paris), both of which are played on hard courts, having won the German Open Hamburg before it was downgraded to ATP 500 in 2009 and replaced by the Madrid Masters (clay). Nadal also won the Madrid Masters event in 2005 when it was played on indoor hardcourts in October, the same slot that Shanghai Masters has today.
Nadal prevented Federer from winning Monte Carlo three times from 2006 to 2008. He also beat Federer twice in the Rome finals, in 2006 and 2013. The 2006 Rome final, which was won by Nadal in a fifth-set tiebreak, lasted for over five hours and is considered by some to be one of the greatest and most memorable matches ever contested on clay.
In 2005, Federer prevented Nadal from winning Miami in a five-set final. Nadal won the first and second sets, was up a break in the third set, and was two points away from victory before Federer came back from two-sets-down to win. Nadal made it back to the Miami final in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 but lost each time. In 2017, Federer again beat Nadal in the Miami final. He also prevented Nadal from winning in Shanghai, defeating the Spaniard in the final.
|Indian Wells Masters||5||3|
|Madrid Open/German Open||6||5|
|Shanghai Masters/Madrid Open||3||1|
- Bold indicates outright record holder
Comparison of Year-End Championships
As of 2016, Roger Federer holds the record for Year-End Championship titles with six. While Nadal has not won a Year-End Championship, he has made the finals twice, in 2010 and 2013. Federer defeated Nadal in the 2010 finals and leads their head-to-head for the event 4–1.
|Tennis Masters Cup||4||0|
|ATP World Tour Finals||2||0|
The following is a breakdown of their head-to-head results:
- All matches: Nadal, 23–15
* The Shanghai Masters 2017 final between Federer and Nadal was played with the roof closed due to rain, but the ATP officially counts it as an outdoor match.
- All finals: Nadal, 14–10
- Clay courts: Nadal, 11–2
- Grass courts: Federer, 2–1
- Hard courts: Federer, 6–2
- Outdoor: Federer, 4–2
- Indoor: Federer, 2–0
- Grand Slam matches: Nadal, 9–3
- Australian Open: Nadal, 3–1
- French Open: Nadal, 5–0
- Wimbledon: Federer, 2–1
- Grand Slam finals: Nadal, 6–3
- Australian Open: Tied, 1–1
- French Open: Nadal, 4–0
- Wimbledon: Federer, 2–1
- Tennis Masters Cup/ATP World Tour Finals matches: Federer, 4–1
- Tennis Masters Cup/ATP World Tour Finals finals: Federer, 1–0
- ATP Masters Series/ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches: Nadal, 12–7
- ATP Masters Series/ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals: Nadal, 7–5
- Best of five set matches: Nadal, 11–4
- Five-set matches: Tied, 3–3
- Best of three set matches: Nadal, 12–11
|Hard Court (o)||Clay||Grass||Hard Court (i)||Total|
|Indian Wells Masters||2||1||2||1|
|Hamburg Masters / Madrid Open||2||3||2||3|
|ATP Finals /
ATP World Tour Finals
- In bold: Matches that happened in the finals.
Nadal and Federer have played 20 of their 38 matches on hard courts, with the head-to-head on this surface at 11–9 in Federer's favour. 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 5–1 record, while on outdoor hard courts, Nadal leads 8–6. The quicker conditions and low bounce of the indoor hard courts fit Federer's style, while the slower and high bouncing conditions of most 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. This is the only surface on which they have exchanged the lead in their head-to-head, which has happened several times.
Despite Nadal's success on hard courts, some analysts have criticized his lack of consistency in reaching hard court tournament finals (especially US Open finals) for potentially skewing the overall head-to-head results. In reference to their match at the 2012 Australian Open, Nadal has said that Federer is typically the "favourite" on "these kinds of surfaces".
Nadal and Federer have played 15 of their 38 matches on clay, with Nadal holding a 13–2 advantage over Federer. The matches comprise 13 tournament finals and 2 semifinals. The Spaniard has won all of their seven meetings in best of five set matches on clay at Roland Garros. Their last match on clay was played at the 2013 Italian Open.
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 finals), as well as in the 2011 final. From 2005–2010, Nadal won at least 2 of the 3 clay Masters events each year, defeating Federer in 6 of those. Statistically, Nadal has the highest win percentage on clay of any player in ATP history, and is third best all-time. As a result, some analysts and players, such as Pat Cash and Conchita Martínez, consider Nadal the greatest clay-court player ever.
Federer and Nadal have met three times on grass, more specifically the Wimbledon finals from 2006 to 2008. Federer won the first two finals, while Nadal won the last one. Federer has won the Wimbledon Championships eight times, and Nadal has won the championships twice. Five of Federer's titles were consecutive titles (from 2003 to 2007), and the sixth, seventh and eighth titles were won in 2009, 2012 and 2017. The 2008 Wimbledon final has been lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.[b]
Federer is considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time 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.
Federer has been more successful than Nadal on fast courts because he hits a flatter forehand and has a faster serve. Grass and indoor hard courts are faster surfaces, so Federer's flatter shots there result in a lower bouncing, faster moving trajectory. Thus, Nadal's topspin is less effective on such faster courts, but is most effective on slower 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.
While Nadal is statistically weaker than Federer on both hard and grass courts, he has nonetheless achieved considerable success on both surfaces, including notable wins at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wimbledon (2008 and 2010), the Australian Open (2009), the US Open (2010, 2013 and 2017), and at various hard court Masters series tournaments.
Similarly, Federer too has achieved considerable success on clay, winning the French Open (2009) and reaching the finals on four other occasions (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), winning the Madrid/Hamburg open six times (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012), and winning various other clay court tournaments.
Media and player commentary
During interviews, many fellow and former players have regarded both Federer and Nadal as among the best tennis players of all time. In November 2010, former player Björn Borg stated that he believed Federer to be the greatest player of all time, but "Rafa has the chance to be the greatest player" if he stays healthy.
Former player and commentator John McEnroe was of a similar opinion, noting in 2010 that "there is an argument to be made that Rafael Nadal may be the greatest player eventually, even possibly now." He has subsequently adjusted his opinion on several occasions, in 2013 noting that he thought Nadal was "the greatest player that ever lived"  but later in 2014 bunched Federer, Nadal, Laver and Sampras together as the greatest ever. In July 2015, he reversed his opinion and again backed Roger Federer for the title. In January 2017, after Federer, then 35 years of age and returning to competitive play after a 6-month layoff due to injury, triumphed over Nadal in 5 sets to win the record-breaking 18th major at the 2017 Australian Open, McEnroe remarked that Federer had cemented his status as being the best tennis player of all time, but also left open the possibility that Nadal can be in the running again should he win additional men's singles majors to narrow the gap.
In October 2013, Rod Laver, the only tennis player to achieve the Grand Slam twice, said "When I look at Federer, with what he's accomplished, against the competition that he's accomplished it with, I'd have to say I would think that Roger is the greatest player,''
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." 
In May 2014, eight-time Grand Slam tournament 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." 
In November 2014, former world number 1 player Andy Roddick, in noting his support for Federer, explained why he believes that head-to-head results are not a valid factor in determining the greatest of all time, "For me Roger Federer is still ahead in the greatest-ever debate, with Rafael Nadal second. People talk about their head-to-head being the determining factor, but I can’t comprehend a single match-up being the deciding factor. It's about total wins at major tournaments, not an individual match-up, in my mind."
In December 2014, Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, indicated to Spanish radio station Cadena COPE that he believed Federer to be the greatest of all time based on overall statistics and achievements, noting "I think he is (the best of all-time), the numbers say so." A day before the 2017 Australian Open men's singles finals, Toni Nadal further reemphasized his regard on Federer, saying that "When [Federer] will call it a career, the greatest player in the tennis history won't be there anymore. Looking at titles, he is the greatest at the moment."
In March 2015, former player Pete Sampras made similar arguments about Federer, "You look at the numbers of what he's been able to do, you have to say he's the greatest we’ve seen" These comments were echoed by Boris Becker in July 2015, "Great respect for Roger Federer! He is our greatest of all time" 
Relationship and competitive dynamic
Both Federer and Nadal's personal and professional relationship is good-natured and gracious. 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. 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 and had high respect for each other, which can often be seen in interviews. Nadal was also once seen watching Federer play a match in his box, and their family members would congratulate each other on match wins.
Despite their cordial relationship, both men had a somewhat different attitude towards their rivalry in its initial years. 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. 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." 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." Nadal has always cherished the rivalry because he looks up to Federer as both a role model and a measuring stick for success.
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.
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. The match was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which was the first time in years that tennis had made its cover. The high profile status of the rivalry saw Sky Sports comparing it to another modern day rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The pair's rivalry - and indeed mutual respect and friendship - was the subject of the 2009 book 'Strokes of Genius' by L Jon Wertheim, which explored their career progression and early lives through the prism of the 2008 Wimbledon final. The book consequently inspired a 2018 film of the same name directed by Andrew Douglas, which updated the story to include their comebacks and recent domination of the slams. The documentary also includes footage of a skinny 12 year old Nadal before the development of his famously muscular physique and a number of clips of a surprisingly bad tempered Federer who admits in the film that he had to change his behaviour in order to progress his career.
The documentary features contributions from former players such as John McEnroe, Björn Borg, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman and Carlos Moya - Nadal's current coach - and family members including Federer's mother and father. An illuminating film, it was well received by audiences, scoring 9.2 on IMDB's user rating database.
Pairing Federer and Nadal
- From the 2003 Wimbledon Championships to the 2011 French Open, Federer and Nadal have won an unprecedented 26 out of 32 Major 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 tournament victory at the 2005 French Open until the 2011 French Open, Federer and Nadal had won 22 of 25 Major 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 nine Grand Slam singles finals (2006–08, 2011 French Open, 2006–08 Wimbledon, 2009, 2017 Australian Open). 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 10th time two players had faced each other in Grand Slam men's singles matches, tying the record set by John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. This record has now been surpassed by Federer-Djokovic when they met for the 13th time in a Major at the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals.
- 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. While both were in their thirties, they won 6 consecutive titles from the Australian Open 2017 to the French Open 2018.
- 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 Majors during the same period (2005–08 and 2010–14 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 Major 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 triple for 4 consecutive years (2005–08).
- One of only two pairs to have faced each other in a Major, having both already completed the career Grand Slam. They did this four times. The other pair Roy Emerson and Rod Laver met on two occasions after both completing the career Grand Slam.
- Federer and Nadal have played four five-set Grand Slam finals (Wimbledon 2007 and 2008, Australian Open 2009 and 2017). This is the largest number of five-set Grand Slam finals contested by any pair of players in the Open Era.
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Grand Slam tournaments (since 1877)
- Only two male players in tennis history to win more than 14 Grand Slam singles titles each (Federer – 20; Nadal – 17)
- Only two male players in tennis history to reach more than 21 Grand Slam singles finals each (Federer – 30; Nadal – 24)
- Only two male players in tennis history to win more than 63 matches at French Open each (Nadal – 86; Federer – 65)
- Most Grand Slam finals played against each other in tennis history – 9 (2009 & 2017 Australian Open, 2006–2008 & 2011 French Open & 2006–2008 Wimbledon)
- Most French Open finals played against each other in tennis history – 4 (2006–2008 & 2011)
- Only two players in tennis history to have met in both French Open & Wimbledon finals in the same season for 3 consecutive years (2006–2008)
- Only two male players in tennis history to win more than 7 titles at a single Grand Slam tournament (Nadal 11 at French Open; Federer 8 at Wimbledon)
- Nadal holds the record for most titles at the French Open (11), while Federer holds the men's record at Wimbledon (8) and Australian Grand Slam (6 – tied with Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson)
- Only two male players in tennis history to win more than 10 Grand Slam titles on particular surface (Federer – 11 on hard; Nadal – 11 on clay)
- Rafael Nadal holds record for most finals reached at French Open (11) while Roger Federer holds records at both Wimbledon (11) and Australian Grand Slam tournaments (7 – tied with Emerson) in tennis history
- Federer won the highest number of matches at both Australian Open (94) and Wimbledon (91), while Nadal at French Open (86) in tennis history
- Federer won the highest number of matches in Grand Slam tournaments on hard (176), while Nadal on clay (86) – both all time records
- Nadal has the highest winning percentage in Grand Slam tournaments on clay with 97.7% (86–2), while Federer on hard with 87.6% (176–25) – both all time records
- Only two players in tennis history to reach more than 4 Grand Slam finals without losing a single set in tournament – 6 times each (Nadal – French Open 2007–2008, 2010, 2012, 2017 & US Open 2010; Federer – Wimbledon 2006, 2008, 2017, Australian Open 2007, 2018 & US Open 2015)
- Nadal is the only player in tennis history to win at least 1 Grand Slam title a season for 10 consecutive years (2005–2014), while Federer is the only player in tennis history to win 3 Grand Slam titles a season for 2 consecutive years (2006–2007) and the only to win 2 Grand Slam titles a season for 4 consecutive years (2004–2007). Two of them also reached at least 1 Grand Slam final for 10 consecutive years, 2nd best only to Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras – 11 consecutive seasons each
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Björn Borg) to win more than 86% matches in major tournaments (Grand Slam & Pro Slam) – Nadal has won 87.45% (237–34) matches, while Federer has won 86.46% (332–52) matches
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Björn Borg) to win more than 3 consecutive titles at single major tournament (Federer won Wimbledon 5 times from 2003 to 2007 & US Open 5 times from 2004 to 2008; Nadal won French Open 5 times from 2010 to 2014 & 4 times from 2005 to 2008)
- First pair in tennis history to win the 2 first major tournaments of the season 6 times (2006–2007, 2009–2010 & 2017-2018)
- Second pair in tennis history (after Roy Emerson & John Newcombe in 1967) to win 2 Grand Slam titles each in a single calendar year (Federer won Australian Open and Wimbledon & Nadal won the French Open and US Open in 2017)
Open Era tournaments (since 1968; including Grand Slam tourneys)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to win more than 43 titles on a particular surface (Federer won 67 titles on hard; Nadal won 57 on clay)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to win at least 1 title for more than 14 consecutive years (Federer was winning for 15 seasons from 2001 to 2015; Nadal has ongoing streak from 2004, so he also was winning for 15 consecutive seasons)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to win 2 Grand Slam titles each in a single calendar year (Federer won Australian Open & Wimbledon, while Nadal won French Open & US Open in 2017)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Björn Borg) to win more than one Grand Slam tournament in men's Open Era without losing a single set (Nadal – French Open 2008, 2010 & 2017; Federer – Australian Open 2007 & Wimbledon 2017)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Björn Borg) to win more than 30 consecutive matches at a Grand Slam event (Nadal – 31 & 39 at French Open; Federer – 40 at both Wimbledon and US Open) in men's Open Era
- Rafael Nadal holds record for most finals reached at French Open (11) while Roger Federer holds records at Wimbledon (11) and Australian Open (7) in tennis history in men's Open Era
- Nadal holds record for most Grand Slam titles on clay (11) while Federer holds records for most titles on both grass (8) and hard (11) in men's Open Era history
- Only two players in men's Open Era with more than 8 titles on a particular surface in Grand Slam tournaments (Federer 11 on hard, Nadal 11 on clay)
- Rafael Nadal holds record for most titles at French Open (11) while Roger Federer holds records at Wimbledon (8), Australian Open (6 – tied with Djokovic) and US Open (5 – tied with Sampras and Connors) in men's Open Era history
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to each win a Grand Slam title without losing a single set in the same calendar year (2017)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to win more than 57 outdoor tennis tournaments (Nadal won 77 titles; Federer won 74)
- Nadal won the most clay tournaments in men's Open Era history on clay with 57 titles, while Federer won the most tournaments on grass (18) and on hard (67)
- Nadal has the longest streak on clay in men's Open Era history with 81 consecutive matches won from 2005 to 2007, while Federer won the most consecutive matches on grass, 65, from 2003 to 2008 and on hard, 56, from 2005 to 2006 (Federer also holds the 2nd best streak on hard - 36 consecutive victories from 2006 to 2007). Each player broke the other player's greatest streak - Nadal beat Federer 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2006 Dubai final on hard and 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 in 2008 Wimbledon final on grass, while Federer beat Nadal 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in 2007 Hamburg Masters final on clay)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to reach more than 10 finals at a single tournament – Federer reached 13 finals in Basel (2000–2001, 2006–15 & 2017) and 11 at both Wimbledon (2003–2009, 2012, 2014–2015 & 2017) and Halle (2003–2006, 2008, 2010, 2012–2015 & 2017), while Nadal reached and won 11 finals at Monte-Carlo (2005–2013 & 2016–2017), Barcelona (2005-2009, 2011-2013, 2016-2018) and Roland Garros (2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017-2018). Nadal was also runner-up at Monte-Carlo in 2013 (12 finals overall in Monaco)
- Only two players in men's Open Era history to win one tournament more than 8 times (Nadal – Monte Carlo, French Open, and Barcelona – 11 titles each, Federer – Halle – 9 titles)
- Nadal has the highest record on clay in men's Open Era history with 92.04% (416–36), while Federer has the best record on grass 87.50% (168–24)
- Two tennis players to win more than 315 matches in Masters 1000 tournaments (Nadal – 357; Federer – 355)
- Most finals played against each other on clay in Masters 1000 tournaments (9)
- Only players to reach more than 44 Masters 1000 finals (Nadal 48; Federer 47), and only players to reach more than 60 semifinals (Nadal – 66; Federer – 61)
- Nadal won 13 consecutive clay tournaments and reached 18 consecutive clay tournaments finals, while Federer won 9 consecutive grass tournaments and reached 13 consecutive grass tournaments finals – all men's Open Era records
- Only players in men's Open Era to win more than 13 titles at ATP 500 tournaments – each won 20 titles
- Only players in men's Open Era to reach more than 20 finals at ATP 500 tournaments – each reached 26 finals
- Only pair in men's Open Era to have at least one player to be present in Hamburg Masters Series/Madrid Masters 1000 final for 9 consecutive years (2007–2015)
- One of two pairs to have played in 12 finals against each other in Masters 1000 tournaments (along with Djokovic–Nadal)
- Only players in men's Open Era to win more than 807 outdoor matches each (Federer won 876; Nadal won 827)
- Only two players to reach more than 166 quarterfinals at outdoor tournaments (Nadal reached 176; Federer 173)
- Only two players to reach final of the same ATP 500 tournament 8 times in a row – Federer in Basel from 2009 to 2017 (did not play in 2016); Nadal in Barcelona from 2005 to 2013 (did not play in 2010)
- Most rivalries won (a rivalry is more than 3 matches) vs Top 10 players – Federer is 1st with 61 rivalries won, while Nadal is 2nd with 52 won (tied with Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors)
- Federer has the highest number of titles won at Cincinnati Masters (7 – 2005, 2007, 2009–2010, 2012 & 2014–2015), Indian Wells Masters (5 – 2004–2006, 2012 & 2017, tied with Novak Djokovic) and Hamburg Masters (4 – 2002, 2004–2005 & 2007), while Nadal won the most titles at Monte Carlo Masters (11 – 2005–2012, 2016–2018), Rome Masters (8 – 2005–2007, 2009–2010, 2012–2013 & 2018) & Madrid Masters (5 - 2005, 2010, 2013-2014 & 2017)
- They are only two players in 21st century to win titles on 3 surfaces across consecutive events played (Federer won Wimbledon on grass, Gstaad on clay and Canada Masters on hard in 2004, while Nadal won Roland Garros on clay, both Queen's Club & Wimbledon on grass and Canada Masters on hard in 2008)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Novak Djokovic) to win more than 14 Masters 1000 titles on particular surface (Nadal won 24 titles on clay; Federer won 21 on hard)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Jimmy Connors) to finish more than 9 consecutive seasons with 80%+ win rate (each of them had 10 80%+ consecutive seasons; Federer from 2003 to 2012; Nadal from 2005 to 2014)
- Nadal won the most consecutive sets on clay (50 - from 2017 to 2018), while Federer won the most consecutive sets on grass (36 - from 2003 to 2004 and also 2nd best on grass - 30 in 2017)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Pete Sampras) to win more than 5 non-consecutive Grand Slam finals (both of them won 7; Federer from 2003 to 2006; Nadal from 2008 to 2011)
ATP Rankings (since 1973)
- Federer has spent a record 237 consecutive weeks as an ATP #1 player in the world, while Nadal holds the record of most consecutive weeks as an ATP #2 player in the world with 160 weeks
- As of Monday 18 June 2018 Federer has spent a record 310 weeks as an ATP #1 player in the world, while Nadal holds the record of most weeks as an ATP #2 player in the world with 274 weeks
- For 6 consecutive seasons (2005–2010) one of them ended calendar season as a #1 player in the world, while the other was the #2 player in the world, a men's Open Era record
- As of Monday 11 June 2018 they are only players in men's Open Era to spend more than 409 weeks in ATP Top 2 (Federer – 511; Nadal – 456)
- Only two players to finish season in Top 2 more than 8 times each (Federer – 11; Nadal – 9)
- Only two players to finish season as No. 2 more than 4 times each (Federer – 6; Nadal – 5)
- Only two players to finish season in Top 2 more than 6 consecutive times each (Federer – 8 times from 2003 to 2010; Nadal – 7 times from 2005 to 2011)
- Only two players to pass 9 years gap between their first and last week as world number 1 (Federer – 14 years & 17 days; Nadal – 9 years & 184 days)
- Federer is the oldest ATP #1 player (36 years and 9 months in 2018), while Nadal is the oldest ATP year-end #1 (31 years and 6 months in 2017)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Novak Djokovic) to clinch ATP year-end world No. 1 in september (Federer in 2004 & 2006; Nadal in 2010)
- They are just 2 of 3 players (the other being Jimmy Connors) to spend more than 499 weeks in top 3 (Federer - 676; Nadal - 514), more than 526 weeks in top 4 (Federer - 709; Nadal - 568), more than 537 weeks in top 5 (Federer - 745; Nadal - 634) and more than 612 consecutive weeks in top 10 (Federer - 734; Nadal - 687 and counting)
- Their 2008 Wimbledon men's singles final match is widely regarded as one of the greatest matches in tennis history 
- From 2004 to 2007, Federer won 320 of the 344 matches he played (320–24 record, 93.02% matches won). Nadal was the only player to have a positive record against Federer (with more than 2 matches played) in that time span (8–6)
- In his 2006 season, Federer won 92 of 97 matches he played (92–5 record, 94.85% matches won). Nadal was the only player to hold a positive record against him (with more than 2 matches played), winning 4 matches and losing 2. Federer's only other loss of the year came from Andy Murray at the Cincinnati Masters
- As of June 18, 2018, Federer and Nadal are respectively the two active players with the highest number of titles (98 and 79), finals (148 and 115), matches won (1153 and 903) and played (1405 and 1090) on the ATP tour
- Roger Federer is considered to be the best player to never win Olympic Games tournament, while Nadal is considered to be the best player to never win Tour Finals tournament
- Nadal is the only player to accomplished a "Clay Slam" (winning Monte Carlo Masters, Rome Masters, Madrid Masters & French Open in the same calendar year – 2010), while Federer is the only player to win a Masters 1000 event without having serve broken or losing a set (he did this twice, in 2012 & 2015 at the Cincinnati Masters)
- Nadal is just 1 of 2 players (the other being Mats Wilander) to win French Open title on first attempt (1982 & 2005 respectively), while Federer is just 1 of 2 players (the other being Björn Borg) to defeat 6 different existing Major champions in Grand Slam finals (the Swede beat Guillermo Vilas at 1978 French Open, Ilie Năstase at 1976 Wimbledon, Jimmy Connors at 1977 & 1978 Wimbledon, Roscoe Tanner at 1979 Wimbledon, Vitas Gerulaitis at 1980 French Open and John McEnroe at 1980 Wimbledon, while Federer defeated Marat Safin at 2004 Australian Open, Andy Roddick at 2004, 2005 & 2009 Wimbledon and 2006 US Open, Lleyton Hewitt at 2004 US Open, Andre Agassi at 2005 US Open, Rafael Nadal at 2006 & 2007 Wimbledon and 2017 Australian Open and Marin Čilić at 2017 Wimbledon and 2018 Australian Open)
- Federer won the most matches trailing 0–2 in sets (10 – tied with Aaron Krickstein and Boris Becker), while Nadal won the most matches vs. No. 1 player (19 - tied with Boris Becker)
- Nadal won the highest number of titles as a teenager (16 – tied with Björn Borg), while Federer won the highest number of tie-breaks (425), played the highest number of tie-breakers (653) and has the best winning percentage (65.08%, 425–228 record)
- Neither of them won their bronze medal matches at the Olympic Games (Federer in 2000; Nadal in 2016)
- Each of them won golden medal in men's doubles at the Olympic Games (Federer in 2008; Nadal in 2016)
- Each player won three 5-set matches against the other player: 2 in Grand Slam (1 in Australian Open and 1 at Wimbledon) and 1 in Masters Series (all in finals); Federer won 2005 Miami Masters, 2007 Wimbledon & 2017 Australian Open, while Nadal won 2006 Rome Masters, 2008 Wimbledon & 2009 Australian Open. Federer leads 2-1 on hard, Nadal leads 1-0 on clay and they are tied at 1-1 on grass
- Nadal's best season is considered to be 2013 (won Roland Garros & US Open, 5 Masters 1000 events, won 75 of 82 matches - 91.5%, won 4 other titles, reached 4 other finals and finish the year as #1 player in the world), while Federer's best season is considered to be 2006 (reached all 4 major finals and won 3 of them, missing only Roland Garros, won season ending Masters Cup undefeated, won 4 Masters Series events, won 4 other titles, reached 4 other finals, won 92 of 97 matches - 94.8%, suffered only one loss before the tournament final - in Cincinnati Masters, clinch year-end #1 in September and was the ATP ranking leader for all 52 weeks)
- Nadal won the highest number of consecutive Grand Slam semifinals in a row (16 and counting since 2010), while Federer won the heaviest number of consecutive finals vs top 10 players (24 from 2003 to 2005) - both Open Era records
- Nadal is the only player to have 2 streaks of 4+ titles at the same Grand Slam tournaments: Roland Garros (he won 4 consecutive titles from 2005 to 2008 and other 5 consecutive from 2010 to 2014), while Federer has the highest number of consecutive victories vs top 10 players (26 from 2003 to 2005)
Performance timeline comparison
Grand Slam tournaments
- Bold = players met during this tournament
By age (end of season)
Year-End ranking timeline
ATP Year-End ranking timeline by age
|Year End Ranking||15||16||17||18||19||20||21||22||23||24||25||26||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||34||35||36|
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 ended with an age of 18 as starting point, and comparing their accomplishments at the same age. For instance in 2006, Federer finished the season being 25 years old having accumulated a career record of nine Major titles, and ranked No.1. By comparison, Nadal finished the 2011 season also aged 25, having accumulated ten Major titles in total, and being ranked No.2.
- () = active record (updated Sunday 9 September)
|Age at end of season||18||19||20||21||22||23||24||25||26||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||34||35||36||37|
|Grand Slam titles||Federer||0||0||0||0||1||4||6||9||12||13||15||16||16||17||17||17||17||17||19||20|
|Grand Slam match wins||Federer||0||7||20||26||39||61||85||112||138||162||188||208||228||247||260||279||297||307||325||339|
|Masters 1000 titles||Federer||0||0||0||1||1||4||8||12||14||14||16||17||18||21||21||23||24||24||27||(27)|
|Total match wins||Federer||15||51||100||158||236||310||391||483||551||617||678||743||807||878||923||996||1059||1080||1132||(1168)|
|Weeks at number 1||Federer||0||0||0||0||0||48||100||152||204||237||262||285||285||302||302||302||302||302||302||(310)|
Titles by tournaments played comparison
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 Slam tournaments, 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||28||29||30||31||32||33|
|Federer||won at Grand Slam #||17||19||21||22||25||26||27||29||30||31||33||34||38||40||41||43||53||69||70||72||(73)|
|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||113||119||124||125||127||(130)|
|Federer||won at ATP Tour Finals #||2||3||5||6||9||10||(16)|
|Federer||won at Olympic Games #||(5)|
|Federer||won at ATP 500 event #||12||14||15||17||18||19||21||22||25||27||28||29||35||36||37||38||39||42||43||44||(46)|
|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||70||71||75||(76)|
Federer–Nadal Grand Slam era (2003–present)
|Year||Australian Open||French Open||Wimbledon||US Open|
|2003||Andre Agassi||Juan Carlos Ferrero||Roger Federer||Andy Roddick|
|2004||Roger Federer||Gastón Gaudio||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2005||Marat Safin||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2006||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2007||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2008||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer|
|2009||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer||Juan Martín del Potro|
|2010||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal|
|2011||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic||Novak Djokovic|
|2012||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Andy Murray|
|2013||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Andy Murray||Rafael Nadal|
|2014||Stan Wawrinka||Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic||Marin Čilić|
|2015||Novak Djokovic||Stan Wawrinka||Novak Djokovic||Novak Djokovic|
|2016||Novak Djokovic||Novak Djokovic||Andy Murray||Stan Wawrinka|
|2017||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal|
|2018||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic||Novak Djokovic|
Combined singles performance timeline (best result)
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||Q1||3R||3R||4R||4R||W||SF||W||W||SF||W||W||SF||F||SF||F||QF||SF||W||W||7 / 19|
|French Open||1R||4R||QF||1R||1R||3R||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||QF||3R||W||W||12 / 20|
|Wimbledon||1R||1R||QF||1R||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||F||W||2R||F||F||SF||W||SF||10 / 20|
|US Open||Q2||3R||4R||4R||4R||W||W||W||W||W||F||W||F||QF||W||SF||F||4R||W||SF||8 / 19|
|ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and ATP World Tour Finals|
|Indian Wells||A||Q1||1R||3R||2R||W||W||W||W||SF||W||SF||F||W||W||F||F||SF||W||F||8 / 18|
|Miami||1R||2R||QF||F||QF||4R||W||W||QF||F||SF||SF||F||SF||A||F||3R||2R||W||2R||3 / 19|
|Monte Carlo||1R||1R||QF||2R||3R||A||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||F||F||SF||W||W||W||11 / 19|
|Madrid1||A||1R||1R||W||3R||W||W||A||W||W||W||W||F||W||W||W||F||SF||W||QF||11 / 18|
|Rome||A||1R||3R||1R||F||2R||W||W||W||QF||W||W||F||W||W||F||F||QF||QF||W||7 / 19|
|Canada||A||1R||A||1R||SF||W||W||W||F||W||QF||F||3R||A||W||F||QF||A||F||W||6 / 16|
|Cincinnati||A||1R||A||1R||2R||1R||W||QF||W||SF||W||W||QF||W||W||W||W||3R||QF||F||8 / 18|
|Shanghai2||A||2R||2R||QF||SF||2R||W||W||F||SF||F||F||3R||SF||SF||W||SF||2R||W||SF||4 / 19|
|Paris||A||1R||2R||QF||QF||A||A||A||F||QF||SF||SF||W||A||SF||QF||QF||A||QF||1 / 13|
|ATP Finals||Did Not Qualify||SF||W||W||F||W||W||RR||SF||W||W||F||F||F||F||A||SF||6 / 15|
Federer–Nadal ATP world No. 1 era
Updated Monday September 3, 2018.
|Player||Start date||End date||Weeks||Total|
|Roger Federer||February 2, 2004||August 17, 2008||237||237|
|Rafael Nadal||August 18, 2008||July 5, 2009||46||46|
|Roger Federer (2)||July 6, 2009||June 6, 2010||48||285|
|Rafael Nadal (2)||June 7, 2010||July 3, 2011||56||102|
|Novak Djokovic||July 4, 2011||July 8, 2012||53||53|
|Roger Federer (3)||July 9, 2012||November 4, 2012||17||302|
|Novak Djokovic (2)||November 5, 2012||October 6, 2013||48||101|
|Rafael Nadal (3)||October 7, 2013||July 6, 2014||39||141|
|Novak Djokovic (3)||July 7, 2014||November 6, 2016||122||223|
|Andy Murray||November 7, 2016||August 20, 2017||41||41|
|Rafael Nadal (4)||August 21, 2017||February 18, 2018||26||167|
|Roger Federer (4)||February 19, 2018||April 1, 2018||6||308|
|Rafael Nadal (5)||April 2, 2018||May 13, 2018||6||173|
|Roger Federer (5)||May 14, 2018||May 20, 2018||1||309|
|Rafael Nadal (6)||May 21, 2018||June 17, 2018||4||177|
|Roger Federer (6)||June 18, 2018||June 24, 2018||1||310|
|Rafael Nadal (7)||June 25, 2018||present||11||188|
- Big Four
- List of tennis rivalries
- Djokovic–Federer rivalry
- Djokovic–Nadal rivalry
- Federer–Murray rivalry
- Roger Federer career statistics
- List of career achievements by Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal career statistics
- List of career achievements by Rafael Nadal
- List of Grand Slam men's singles champions
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Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal. Time span: '04-present (18 matches). Head to head: Nadal 12, Federer 6. Grand Slam finals: Six; Nadal leads 4–2. Wimbledon: Three finals, 2006, 2007; 2008; Federer won first two, Nadal won Sunday's epic. After Sunday there can be no doubt these two now rank alongside the great tennis rivalries.
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- Dave Martin (August 30, 2015). "Reliving Wimbledon 2008 Final: The Greatest Match Ever". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roger Federer.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rafael Nadal.|
- Article on the Federer-Nadal rivalry at the ATP's official site
- Head to Head player details at the ATP's official site
- Federer / Nadal: The Head-to-Head Anomaly Article on the Statistical Anomaly of the Federer-Nadal Head-to-Head
- Super Match 2006 Part one of the Seoul match, there are 9 parts which can be found on the side of the video
- Hidden numbers on the Federer-Nadal H2H