Rafael Nadal has been the most important rival in the Roger Federer's career. The Swiss often stressed how the Spaniard pushed him to improve and get better. 'What does he have that you’d like to have?', L'Equipe asked Federer a few weeks ago. 'I’ve always loved his forehand and his intensity, his ability to concentrate', the 19-time Grand Slam champion replied.
In 2017 Federer played and edged past Nadal always on hard courts. What would have happened on clay? 'It might have been interesting, with the year I had and my style of play, if I could have done well, even won, but no … for me, Rafa will always be the favorite against anyone on clay. So, Advantage Rafa! I say. [laughs].'
Finally, Federer commented on what it felt like to play doubles with Nadal at the Laver Cup: 'It was magnificent. Honestly. Because doubles are even better than practice. In doubles, you have ten seconds to make a choice, and you talk to each other. OK, what will you take? Forehand and I cover that after? No? Go, we’ll change quickly! OK, agreed? Bang bang, boom, bing. And you do that fifty times during a match! Watching his intensity, his calmness, it made me think of myself. We’re similar, we’re always trying to find solutions. He’s a winner. He knows when it’s important, when it doesn’t matter if you miss a shot when you’ve made the right choice. If the idea was right, you accept it. You know when the opponent played well. All that fascinated me. It was really good.'