One of Rafael Nadal's early coaches, Toni Colom, recently shared on his blog a moment that, he believes, contributed to the quick bond that was created between the Spaniard and Roger Federer. "While returning to the hotel after winning a title in Beijing in September 2005, he received an SMS from Roger congratulating him on the tournament won a few minutes earlier.
I still remember the joy he expressed at that time. This demonstrates the good foundations that have been created. This exemplary relationship which has further enriched the greatness of sport and especially of tennis. Without a doubt one of the greatest sports spectacles of all time," Toni Colom wrote on his blog.
Nadal stayed close to Federer until the end of his career
As proof of the strong relationship between the two icons, Rafael Nadal was there to accompany Roger in the last match of his professional career, even though the Spaniard was injured and his wife was getting ready to born a baby.
Rafael even burst into tears during the celebratory event at Laver Cup. Former American tennis player Jan-Michael Gambill said Rafael Nadal was upset after Roger Federer's retirement because he began to consider the day when he would have to call it a career.
"Rafa was so emotional. Part of it is the friendship they developed competing with him and the other side might be just seeing that the end is in sight for all these guys," Gambill said on Tennis Channel's Inside-in podcast.
"Not anytime soon hopefully but the Big-4 that were there know their own mortality when they see a guy like Roger who we have associated with the game so long and if he retires then, unfortunately, it won't be much longer for everybody to play at that level and age."
Even though Nadal is 36 years old and frequently injured, he still enjoys the game and wishes to continue playing for as long as possible. "I would like to say goodbye on the court, that's for sure. But you never know what the future may bring.
And, well, it is obvious that I have also had a very long career, that I feel the love and support of many people all over the world, but we will see how it will be," Nadal said.