These two players, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal – considered by all to be two of the best tennis players in the world – have kept tennis fans in thrall since their first meeting in 2004 with their unique and unusual rivalry. No matter who the other player is facing, some mention is always made of that Federer Nadal rivalry, even if they dont end up battling each other in court in that particular tournament. If you dont believe us, just check out any Federer news story, where youll be bound to see some mention of Rafael Nadal in the same article. What keeps us all glued to their rivalry however is that this is a sports rivalry of a new kind, neither player behaves in the manner that you would expect of someone engaged in a long term professional war with someone. At times, the Federer Nadal rivalry is also so unique that rather than looking like each others nemesis, the two players seem as close as best friends or even brothers.
The impact of their rivalry has certainly had a major effect on bringing professional level tennis to wider attention, and the fact that the two players are at the very height of their on court powers does nothing to harm this either. But just what is it about this particular rivalry that makes it so unique and different, and is that the reason why we cant seem to get enough of it?
Surprisingly, both Nadal and Federer have a good-natured personal relationship as well as a competitive one on court. Regardless of how competitive and aggressive they are towards each other when theyre standing on opposite ends of the baseline, they still maintain and present a high regard of each other with only the slight criticisms made referring to their playing styles or particular matches. Unlike many other rivalries of a sporting nature, there is a deep undercurrent of mutual respect and admiration from both players running through it, preventing any comments or criticisms from taking on a personal nature.
The two players have also used their famous rivalry and the publicity that playing it up generates to accomplish philanthropic achievements as well as career ones. Federer and Nadal have collaborated on charity exhibition matches to raise money for their two charitable interests, something that would be difficult to achieve without the cultural impact that it has had. Nadal himself has also always found the rivalry to be particularly significant, a bit like the rivalry that may occur between a master of martial arts and his upcoming student, because to him Federer is a role model and a template for success in the tennis world.