Rafael Nadal: 'Roger Federer is an icon, can't wait for his return

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Rafael Nadal: 'Roger Federer is an icon, can't wait for his return

Since 2004, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have forged one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. Battling in nine Major finals and numerous Masters 1000 events, Roger and Rafa have pushed each other to the limits, continually improving their games and chasing records and achievements.

Two legends have been showing mutual respect outside the court, playing charity matches like the record-breaking one in Cape Town in February. As it turned out, it was Roger Federer's last appearance on the court, struggling with a knee injury and deciding to skip the rest of the season.

The Swiss maestro will make a comeback at the Australian Open in January next year, hoping to bounce back and continue where he left in a previous couple of years. Following his fourth-round win at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal said he was thrilled when he heard good news from Roger, calling him one of our sports icons and looking forward to seeing him on the court as soon as possible.

Undergoing two knee surgeries, Roger had to miss all the action in the current season after the Australian Open, working hard on the return and hoping to get back at 100% ahead of the Aussie swing. Spending the last half a year at home with his family, Roger is back on the practice court, training with his physio Pierre Paganini and hitting the ball for a couple of hours every day.

Federer didn't play the ATP Cup for Switzerland at the beginning of 2020, taking more time on the practice court ahead of Melbourne, where he reached the semis after many ups and downs. In the third round, the Swiss trailed 8-4 in the deciding tie break against John Millman, rattling off six straight points to survive.

Rafael Nadal can't wait to see Roger Federer on the court again.

Struggling with a groin injury in the quarters, Federer faced seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the fourth set, fending them off to prevail in the decider!

In the semis, Novak Djokovic beat Roger in straight sets in what has been the last official match for the Swiss. After that record-breaking Cape Town encounter against Rafa, Roger announced a knee surgery, planning to return in June for Halle and Wimbledon's grass swing.

Roger failed to eliminate the pain, having to undergo another in May and choosing to skip the rest of the season and get ready for 2021. "I talked to Roger during the past months; I would say a lot. We spoke about many things which happened.

We are in the player council together, and apart from speaking about ATP issues, we also took a chance to talk personally about our lives during these times. I knew he was getting better, and I am thrilled he announced the Australian Open return; I hope he'll come back as soon as possible.

We can't fool ourselves: we don't have ten years of Federer left, and it's a bad thing every time he is away from the court. He is one of the greatest icons of our sport, and to have him away from the court is bad for everyone," Rafael Nadal said.