A rivalry often regarded not just as the greatest ever in tennis, but also sports in general, has been facing the threat of extinction of late; gone are the days when Rafael Nadal - Roger Federer face-off defined the game of tennis.
Both the players have largely been responsible for taking tennis to the masses in the 21st century with their enchanting rivalry, of which no one can get enough; like Oliver Twist, we still want more! But everything has to come to an end, sometime.
The last time Federer played Nadal at a Grand Slam final was in Roland Garros in 2011, an exciting match compared to their previous three final encounters there. None of their French Open final encounters have gone beyond four sets, still, the 2011 final was no less exciting with a score that reads -- 7-5 7-6(3) 5-7 6-1.
The last memory of a ‘Fedal’ final happened when Federer was 29, and Nadal 24. It’s very unlikely that anyone could have foreseen the denouement of their historic rivalry then. Afterwards, their paths crossed only twice at a Slam -- both at the Australian Open; that too in the semi-finals -- 2012 and 2014, with Nadal winning on both the occasions.
Talking about Fedal duels, one might have reservations calling it an intense rivalry for it offers a lopsided stats with Nadal leading 23 against Federer’s 10. The Spaniard launched his blitz attack on the indomitable Swiss maestro as a teen in the 2004 Miami Masters.
Nadal had a head start, winning 7 of the first 10 matches they played. On clay, Nadal leads 13-2; on hard court, again it is 9-6 in favour of the Spaniard; on grass, it was 2-1 in favour of Federer. When it comes to Grand Slam encounters, Nadal leads 9-2; 6-2 in the finals.