As Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer prepare to square off in the Men’s semifinals at the Australian Open, The Inquisitr takes a look at one of the greatest tennis rivalries ever. For over a decade, Roger Federer owned men’s tennis. But Rafael Nadal has often proven to be his Kryptonite. In the nine years since the two began to battle in tournaments, Nadal owns a staggering 22-10 advantage. But the matches are rarely blow outs. They have produced some of the greatest tennis drama ever.
The two men were ranked one and two from 2005-2010 on the ATP. No rivalry has ever accomplished that feat. Because of their dominance, they were almost always guaranteed to match up in the finals of Grand Slam tournaments.
Without further ado, here is our list in chronological order:
Roger Federer, 24, had been dominating men’s tennis for several years at this point. He was looking to cement his name in history as the greatest ever. But a young teenager had emerged on the scene in the previous year named Rafael Nadal. Nadal was proving himself to be a charismatic, intense, and difficult opponent. Many were already calling Nadal one of the best to ever play on clay. The two had met six times already, including the previous years French Open. Federer was looking to swat away the pesky Nadal. After losing the first set, Nadal stormed back to win the next 3, including a thrilling final set. A rivalry was born.
Just months following Nadal’s announcement to the world that he was for real, the two met again. This time it would be on the biggest stage of tennis. Wimbledon. Federer had proven through the years that he dominated the grass courts, promptly dealing with any challengers. It was time for Nadal to show he was truly ready to overcome Federer. Winning in four sets, Federer told the world he wasn’t going anywhere just yet.
A year later, the rivalry had already started to take on the lopsided advantage that would prove to belong to Rafael Nadal. The Grand Slam title that belonged to Federer was still Wimbledon. It was the one thing Nadal had not taken away from the “Swiss Maestro”. The build up going in was whether or not Nadal would truly overcome Federer as the best. But again Roger Federer showed why he may be the greatest ever. He defeated Nadal in a thrilling five match marathon that lasted three hours and 45 minutes.
In what many have called the “greatest match ever played”, Nadal finally overtook his rival and best in the world status. Though tennis insiders knew Nadal owned Federer everywhere but grass, the general public would never fully accept Nadal until he won Wimbledon. So in the longest Wimbledon finals match ever played, four hours and 48 minutes, Nadal finally got his elusive victory. He became the best in the world and gained a new audience for tennis. Many consider this match to have revived professional tennis.
Rafael Nadal needed to put a strangle hold on his newly attained status as the best. There was still only one person out there who could take it from him. His rival Roger Federer. So in their first time seeing each other since the 2008 Wimbledon finals, they squared off for the Australian Open championship. Nadal won an incredible opening set, but then the two alternated sets. Finally, Nadal put all questions about who would dominate their rivalry to rest in the fifth and final set as he won the final set 6-2.
Those are our top five Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer matches of all time. What is your favorite?