Are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic the worst rivals ever for Roger Federer? Until a few years ago Nadal was considered Federer's nemesis and his worst nightmare, but from the 2017 Australian Open final onwards, Federer was able to turn the tide after years, and now their challenges are very balanced (Rafa leads 24-16).
After Wimbledon 2014, untill Wimbledon 2019 and the Australian Open 2020, we can say that Djokovic is Federer's worst rival. The Serb managed to enter into the Swiss nervous system, sending him into crisis. Federer does not beat Djokovic in a Slam-match from Wimbledon 2012 semifinal.
Indeed the World no. 1 won the last six challenges in the Slams, four of which in the final (Wimbledon 2014, 2015, 2019 and US Open 2015).Federer is suffering Djokovic mentally, technically and physically, on all playing surfaces.
Novak Dokovic and Roger Federer's rivalry is the second largest in the Open era after the one between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Dokovic himself. It is also the largest in the history of Grand Slam tournaments, with 17 matches played and is regarded as one of the most important tennis rivalries of all time.
Roger Federer's come back: THE WORST RIVALS OF THE SWISS
Federer and Nadal clashed 40 times, including in 9 Grand Slam tournament finals. From 2006 to 2017, the two rivals played four finals at the French Open, three at the Wimbledon Tournament and two at the Australian Open.
Nadal won six of those nine finals, losing the first two in Wimbledon and the last in Australia. Four of these nine finals made it to the fifth set (Wimbledon 2007 and 2008 and Australian Open 2009 and 2017), and the 2008 Wimbledon final was cited by many as the most beautiful and exciting game in tennis history.
They also faced each other in 12 Masters Series finals, including a very long final at the Rome Masters in 2006 that lasted over 5 hours and ended with a fifth-set tie break win from Nadal. With Andre Agassi there were 11 matches, of which 8 were won by Federer.
With Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick, Federer had a great rivalry with them, also because the three were all born between 1981 and 1982, therefore belonging to the same generation. Against the Australian, Federer leads the head-to-head for 18-9, while against the American the Swiss leads 21-3.
Roger leads also against Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro and Stan Wawrinka respectively for 14-11, 18-7 and 23-3. With Pete Sampras there was only one match: in 2001, at Wimbledon's R16, won by Federer with the final score of 7-6 (7) 5-7 6-4 6-7 (2) 7-5, as if it were a real passing of the baton on the beloved London lawns of the All England Club.