Interviewed in Zurich, Roger Federer spoke about his rivalry with Rafael Nadal who, according to Federer, let him improve his game to become a better player. 'The most intense rivalry I have ever had was with Rafa, no doubt on that - confessed Federer - It has been an epic and incredible rivalry and it will continue to be like this because we are going to play often in the future.
He made me change my game many times since he is lefty and we had never seen a player who could hit the ball with so much spin. If we see the way I played in 1999 and the way I play now, the change is brutal. Now I play with more strength, before I had such a 'soft' game.
My movements, the way I hit the ball, I'm a different player due to Rafa's presence'. Nadal and Federer have played 33 matches and the Spaniard leads the head-to-head 23-10. They played some epic matches like the 2008 Wimbledon final that Nadal won in five sets and the 2009 Australian Open final that Nadal won again in five sets.
Federer won epic matches in 2008 Hamburg Final and 2007 Wimbledon Final. They have not played each other since the 2014 Australian Open semi-final that Rafa won in straight sets. Maybe they will face each other in Basel next week.
They did have a chance to meet in Indian Wells semi-final, but Nadal didn't convert three match points against Raonic. Almost the same thing happened in Cincinnati, but Rafa lost in the third set tie-break against Feliciano Lopez in the third round.
The Swiss changed also temperamentally: 'Today I'm dealing with defeats a bit more loosely and see it as a positive impact'. Also Read: Roger Federer: ´I´m not going to retire. I´m still motivated, even if...´