The rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has been widely recognized as the greatest in tennis history. The two legends of the modern era have faced each other 40 times, with the Spaniard ahead 24-16 over the Swiss in the head-to-head.
Despite the unfavorable balance, the 38-year-old from Basel holds Slam's all-time record at 20, while the twelve-time Roland Garros champion is currently still at 19. To stop their domination, Novak Djokovic, world number 1 has thought and capable of putting 17 majors on his glorious bulletin board.
The debate on GOAT has raged seamlessly in recent years, with fans and insiders who have never managed to find a meeting point. In an interview with 'Radio La Red', the well-known Argentine journalist Toti Pasman compared Federer and Nadal to the two biggest Argentine football clubs, namely Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Pasman on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
"Doesn't River give too much importance to Boca? River has a complex with Boca that was overcome by Marcelo Gallardo. The final of the 2018 Copa Libertadores was like Del Potro winning the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, like winning the final of the World Cup in Brazil" - Toti Pasman said.
"For River, the maximum was to beat Boca. For Boca, the maximum was beating Real Madrid. It's like, Real Madrid is Federer, Boca is Nadal and River is Del Potro. When River beat Boca that time in Madrid (in 2018), it was like that feat of Delpo.
It puts Boca so high that it shows a very large inferiority complex from River," Pasman went on. In recent seasons, Federer has begun to adopt a more aggressive style of play that has allowed him to bend Nadal with excellent frequency.
In the calculation, Roger's decision to repeatedly skip appointments on clay, where the Majorcan would have been the big favorite, also had an impact. On his return to Roland Garros last year, Roger surrendered to his eternal rival in the semifinal after a very good journey.
The Basel phenomenon would have taken revenge at Wimbledon a few weeks later, a masterful performance frustrated by the two worn-out match points against Novak Djokovic in the final. In case of victory in New York or Paris, Nadal would go to 20 Slam as Federer, unable to return to the field before the beginning of 2021. The Spaniard having the advantage over his Swiss rival, leading him 10-4 at the Slams.