Roger Federer: 'I feel pressure to play the style of tennis people expect'

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Roger Federer: 'I feel pressure to play the style of tennis people expect'

Last February, 51,954 spectators attended the "Match in Africa" at the Cape Town Stadium between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. Federer and Nadal have played 40 times, with Federer trailing 16–24. Federer has a winning record on grass 3–1 and hard courts 11–9, while Nadal leads on clay 14–2.

Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 24 of their matches have been in tournament finals which have included an all-time record nine Grand Slam finals. Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004, and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers.

The latest encounter was at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, where Federer won to reach the final. Of their 40 meetings, 13 have reached a deciding set. They have also played in 12 Masters Series finals, including their lone five-hour match at the 2006 Rome Masters which Nadal won in a fifth-set tie-break, having saved two match points.

The Match In Africa was a historic match which is why Tony Godsick was asked how was Roger Federer feeling before the match. He said, “Roger was excited, but he was really nervous. He knew he was the host and everything that came along with that.

He knew how much South Africa had followed him over the years, he had never played there, he said to me, ‘I can’t do that all of the time. I feel pressure to play the style of tennis people expect.' ” “He wanted to play a great match.

He also knew how much it meant to his family, especially his mom. We wanted to make sure everything was perfect that day because it truly was a once-in-a-career opportunity. I think he was genuinely overwhelmed by everything" - he added.