Roger Federer: 'Friendship with Rafael Nadal shows tennis is just a sport'

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Roger Federer: 'Friendship with Rafael Nadal shows tennis is just a sport'

Many players are saying that the atmosphere in the tour is relaxed and friendly. It was never like this. They say this is Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's merit, not just because of players, but as a person. But the Swiss does not feel that full credit needs to be given just to him and the Spaniard.

'When I also came on tour, I felt it was pretty friendly, especially also (Andre) Agassi towards the end of his career. I only know that part really. He was always very friendly', Federer said. 'Pete (Sampras) was maybe not speaking as much, but he was friendly, too.

You obviously had (Carlos) Moya, (Tim) Henman, so many other guys who stuck around for such a long time who really were very welcoming for the young guys as well to be on tour. I always thought it was actually quite nice to be nice to younger generations coming in instead of making them feel like this is going to be hell for you.

I just think it's nice to respect each other and be friendly to each other. I'm sure it rubbed off on Rafa. I think when they see the two of us being the biggest rivals in the sport actually to speak to each other and be somewhat friendly, I think that rubs off to other players as well, actually thinking tennis is a fierce sport, a tough sport, but at the end of the day it's only a sport.

There's so much more to life. I think maybe that's a little bit what I've been able to show many other athletes. But then again, once you're out on court you play tough and fair. That's how I do it anyway out on center court.' ALSO READ: David Ferrer: 'It will be my last US Open. Facing Rafael Nadal is a gift'