Stan Wawrinka revealed Pete Sampras versus Andre Agassi used to be his favorite rivalry but it all changed after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal showed up. Sampras and Agassi shared a historic rivalry but Federer and Nadal exceeded every past tennis rivalry.
Nadal and Federer have clashed 40 times, with the Spaniard leading their head-to-head 24-16. 24 of those 40 meetings came in finals as Nadal won 14 of their 24 finals clashes. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the ATP Tour.
“For me, it was before arriving on the Tour, it was Sampras and Agassi, and then Roger Rafa. I think it is so special, like a completely different style of game, a completely different personality and for an amazing champion," Wawrinka said in a video for the ATP.
Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem pick Federer-Nadal as the best rivalry
Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, also acknowledged that Sampras-Agassi was a great rivalry but he also feels Federer and Nadal share the best tennis rivalry.
“So the most iconic rivalry on the ATP Tour is difficult to say from what I have heard of. Sampras-Agassi was great and, of course, also McEnroe-Borg must have been unreal, but I grew up watching obviously Roger and Rafa.
That was the first rivalry I could also watch on TV and was growing up with, so I chose this one. This one was also the first match I was looking live on TV, and in the following years, they played so many great matches, so for me, this is the best rivalry," Thiem explained.
Nadal and Federer haven't clashed in over three years - since 2019 Wimbledon. But Federer hasn't really played that much over the last two and a half years as he has had three knee surgeries since 2020. Federer is expected to return to action in late September at the Laver Cup. Both Federer and Nadal have signed up to compete there and represent Team Europe.