Rafael Nadal: 'Ultimately you live it with sadness'



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Rafael Nadal: 'Ultimately you live it with sadness'

Roger Federer has quit tennis. The world of tennis loses a legend, not a rivalry with international appeal. Novak Djokovic knows this well: "Rafael Nadal will continue to be my number one rival. On the other hand, the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry has been a glorious chapter for 16 years, since that first meeting in 2006 in France, when Rafa reached the quarterfinals.

final in straight sets when the Serbian player retired. Since then 59 clashes in total, 30 in favor of Djokovic, nine Slam finals. For Nadal, three wins in the last four challenges: the Roland Garros final in 2020, the Rome final in 2021 and the French quarterfinals in 2022.

For Nole, in the midst of a controversial 2022 to say the least, the smile in the last year Semifinals on French soil. And then there is the relationship. Novak was a guest, albeit a luxury one, at Roger Federer's farewell party.

An emotional moment in which the Swiss wanted to live hand in hand with the Mallorcan, much less for commercial reasons. Rafa has not been tender with Nole in the past, since he was at the height of the vaccination controversy prior to the Australian Open: "No one can demand another and we are all free, but the truth is that if you are part of a circuit, you may have to comply with the rules required by that circuit.

So if the tour requires players to get vaccinated to travel to protect everyone, Djokovic will have to get vaccinated if he wants to continue playing tennis at the highest level. I mean him, but everyone, including me."

Roger Federer recalled the days when Rafael Nadal first entered the tour as a teenager. "I remember when he was a kid coming on tour, he was quite shy, very flamboyant and outgoing on the pitch, but off the pitch he was very shy.

He struggled to make eye contact," Roger Federer said. "As time went on, he became a very strong personality, more confident as well and has gone his own way, which I was happy to see."

Nadal on Roger Federer's retirement

During the interview, Rafael Nadal continued to touch on Roger Federer's retirement at the Laver Cup, stating that he has no other option but to embrace the sadness that comes with accepting that one of the greatest icons of tennis has left the sport.

"One of the greatest icons in the history of sports is leaving. And ultimately you live it with sadness, too," he said. "I said it the other day, in the end it's leaving someone who has entertained, moved and inspired many people in the world and somehow I am also one of them."