The last time that Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer was at the 2014 Australian Open semifinals. After that, the two legends faced each other in five hard-court matches, with Roger winning in all of them: 2015 (Basel) 2017 (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Shanghai).
Speaking to NRC Rafael's uncle, Toni, admitted that the rivalry with Federer changed in some ways. 'Roger's game had no secrets for Rafa, it was much less complicated than clashes with Djokovic. Until that painful loss at Melbourne in 2017.
Federer delivered a new tactic, that immediately gave him a Grand Slam title. He was once again an example for everyone. At 35 years Roger improved himself, in 2017 he was better than Rafael', said Toni. Nadal's mental strength is an example for all the tennis players, which is the result of the big work done at a young age: 'I do not understand how people can live without passion and intensity.
Rafael knows it better. I taught him the desire to win. And that in life everything starts with hard work. Rafael forgot his water bottle? Cool, you train with no water. Was it too hot under the sun for him? Okay, he will hit hundreds of balls under the sun.
So you help your mindset. Why should you complain if you can play the sports you want?', concluded the 57-year-old. ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title