Tennis fans need to cherish every Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal match



Any time the best of the best go against each other, in any sport, it’s something special. And when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play, it’s absolutely captivating.

The result doesn’t always matter — although Friday’s was predictable — because when you’re watching these two legends and rivals compete against each other, you know you’re witnessing greatness.

Now, every time they meet, tennis fans should treasure it because we have no idea how many more epic battles we’ll see. We’re approaching the end of an era, with 33-year-old Nadal chasing 37-year-old Federer’s 20 Grand Slam wins as their historic careers count down to an unknown end date that isn’t as far away as we’d hope.

And Friday’s French Open semifinal matchup could be the final time Federer and Nadal play at Roland Garros. Predictably, Nadal, the king of clay, got the best of Federer (6-3, 6-4, 6-2) and improved to 6-0 over the Swiss player in Paris.

Federer has the men’s record for most grand slams, but Nadal — who could win his 18th this weekend and pull within two of Fed — leads their overall head-to-head matchups at 24-15 now, 10-3 at majors and 14-2 on clay.

To be fair, no one excels on clay the way Nadal does, and Federer is closer to the opposite of that.

While 11 of Nadal’s 17 Grand Slam titles have been at the French Open, this was Federer’s first appearance in the tournament since 2015. It was Federer’s 18th French Open — and when he won in 2009, he didn’t have to face Nadal — and it is speculated to be his last.

They beautifully battled in a match that was closer than the score until the end.

After Nadal took the first set, Federer had a 40-0 lead at one point in the second set when it was tied 4-4. But he let it slip away as Nadal charged back to take the game, the set and the victory for his 12th French Open final, in which he’s never lost.

We have no idea when or if Federer will win another Grand Slam. His last was at the Australian Open in 2018. Nadal’s last was the 2018 French Open, but even if he wins this weekend, will he ever catch Federer, especially if the elder player musters the strength for one or two more?

There’s no doubt that they are spectacular competitors and will finish their careers — whenever that may be — as two of the greatest to ever play the game. But every season and every Grand Slam serves as a reminder that they’re not getting any younger. And their bodies aren’t as resilient as they used to be.

(Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

Just three weeks ago, Federer — who’s periodically dealt with back issues the last few years — had to pull out of the Italian Open with a leg injury and acknowledged he was “not 100 percent physically”.

And in March, Nadal had to bow out of a match against Federer at Indian Wells because of knee issues that have been bothering him for years. He then lost on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, raising more questions about his knee holding up. But he could still put those concerns away (for now) with a third-consecutive French Open title Sunday.

Federer recently dismissed any talk of retirement and said he’ll keep playing “as long as all stars are still aligned” — which means as long as he can still contend for major titles. Nadal likely operates with a similar mentality, and it’s been speculated that he has two or three years left.

The best that people who love high-quality tennis can hope for is as many meetings as possible between Federer and Nadal while they’re both still on the court. Maybe that’s later this summer at Wimbledon or a couple months from now at the U.S. Open. Maybe we have to wait until next season or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Maybe fans don’t have to wait long at all and the two superstars meet in Grand Slams multiple times over the next few years.

The point is that any time Federer and Nadal face off at the ends of their careers, tennis fans should consider themselves lucky to get another chance to witness two icons go at it because we don’t know when (or if) it will happen again.

nt”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js



Via OverwatchWire


Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format