Mats Wilander says Novak Djokovic has probably been Rafael Nadal's most difficult opponent but adds it makes sense that the Spaniard is saying that Roger Federer has been his greatest rival. At Wimbledon, Nadal was asked about Federer's absence.
Nadal said Federer not playing at Wimbledon will never be a positive thing and used the opportunity to call the Swiss his "greatest rival." Reflecting on Nadal's comments, Wilander says it's understandable that the Spaniard enjoys more rivalry with Federer.
“He (Nadal) was the first one to really challenge Roger and they had this amazing rivalry for a few years,” Wilander said, per Tennis Buzz. “Then of course Novak Djokovic came along, but Novak has probably been Nadal’s more difficult opponent.
And, talking from personal experience, a rivalry is not necessarily against the player that you played the most often in the biggest matches. It’s one that you enjoy playing against. So I completely understand what he’s saying; it must be insanely fun to play against Roger Federer if you feel like you have a chance to win”.
Nadal called Federer his greatest rival
Nadal, 36, lifted his maiden Wimbledon title after beating Federer in a historic 2008 Wimbledon final. Unfortunately, Federer hasn't played much tennis over the last two and a half years and Nadal the game greatly missed the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“In a personal way, of course my personal relationship with Roger has been great, and he is probably my greatest rival,” Nadal said. “At the same time all the things that we shared together on court is something difficult to describe, the emotions, all the things.
And of course I personally miss him in the tennis tour, and tennis of course misses him – tournaments, fans, everyone. I think Roger Federer is important in every single tournament. Not only Wimbledon. He is missed in every single event of tennis, without a doubt”.