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    Roger Federer Towards His Best Rivals: Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal | ATP Tour

    Lengthy certain for the historical past books, Roger Federer’s epic rivalries with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal can now be seen of their totality because the Swiss pens the ultimate pages of his storied ATP Tour profession.

    A triumvirate internationally often called the Large Three, the sporting legends have dominated tennis’ largest phases, taking the sport to an unprecedented stage. The three most embellished gamers of all time have cast their careers in parallel, with 63 Grand Slam titles between them thus far.

    On his highway to greatness, Federer lifted his sport within the presence of his two best rivals. He confronted Nadal, 5 years his junior, 40 instances. He met Djokovic, six years youthful, on 50 events.

    ATPTour.com takes a glance again at some key moments in Federer’s two largest rivalries on tour.

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    Federer vs Nadal Rivalry

    H2H: 24-16 Nadal
    Grand Slam encounters: 10-4 Nadal
    Grand Slam Finals: 6-3 Nadal
    Nitto ATP Finals encounters: 4-1 Federer
    ATP Masters 1000 encounters: 12-7 Nadal
    ATP Masters 1000 finals: 7-5 Nadal
    Encounters in finals: 14-10 Nadal

    Some rivalries transcend their sport and it’s unattainable to ponder fashionable tennis with out Roger Federer’s rivalry with Rafael Nadal. At a time when he was the dominant power and undisputed No. 1, Federer discovered himself confronted with a brand new rival with the breakthrough of Nadal, who had been prepared since adolescence to go away an indelible mark on the circuit. In whole, the 2 gamers met 40 instances, taking tennis to new ranges of excellence and recognition.

    The impulsiveness of the Spaniard at all times supplied the right foil to the pure expertise of the Swiss, a conflict of types that produced an attractive spectacle. The velocity of Nadal, a participant as bodily sturdy as he’s tactically adept, contrasted with the magic fingers of Federer, who was capable of put the ball wherever on the court docket.

    Nadal by no means feared the good Federer, whom he beat in an unforgettable first match. On the courts of Miami within the 2004 season, earlier than turning 20, Rafa emerged as a tactical conundrum for Roger. With a looping left-handed forehand straight to Federer’s backhand above his shoulder, the Spaniard was prepared to interrupt down the Tour’s dominant power. The Swiss, who was pressured to enhance his backhand wing to compete with Nadal, responded by successful the 2005 Miami ultimate in 5 units on the identical stage. He received the win, however he additionally knew that he had discovered a particular nemesis.

    Nadal was able to problem Federer’s supremacy, and indicators of a giant rivalry got here shortly. Earlier than Federer might prolong his mastery to clay, the Spaniard made certain he stamped his authority. Though the Swiss was the person to deliver an finish to Nadal’s 81 consecutive wins on the crimson dust – the longest streak on one floor within the Open Period – Nadal was at all times fiercely dominant throughout this stretch of the season. He would take out Federer in three consecutive Roland Garros finals between 2006-08.

    “If considered one of us didn’t exist, the opposite would have been extra profitable,” Nadal admitted. “But it surely’s additionally true that the rivalry has benefitted our worldwide attain, as a result of it has made the sport extra engaging to folks. When a participant wins on a regular basis, it could be good for the participant, but it surely’s not essentially good for the game. On the finish of the day, what’s good for the game have to be good for each of us.”

    <a href=Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, 2017 Indian Wells ” type=”width: 100%;” />
    Photograph Credit score: Clive Brunskill/Getty Photographs
    Having already contested two consecutive finals at Wimbledon, Nadal and Federer crossed swords as soon as once more on the London lawns for the third consecutive season in 2008. In one of many best matches within the sport’s historical past, Nadal overcame the Swiss, the champion of the grass Grand Slam for the previous 5 years. The Spaniard’s five-set triumph confirmed that their rivalry would prolong far past the confines of clay. A race in opposition to time had begun, it was historical past within the making.

    By the point historical past repeated itself on the 2009 Australian Open, Nadal’s first main trophy on onerous courts, their rivalry was in full circulate. “God, that is killing me,” admitted a overwhelmed Roger through the trophy ceremony.

    When the world appeared resigned that Grand Slam finals between these two greats had been a factor of the previous – their final having come at Roland Garros in 2011, Nadal and Federer discovered themselves within the decider on the 2017 Australian Open. There, with the burden of historical past on his shoulders, the Swiss produced a five-set win for the ages because of a stinging backhand and new racquet, chosen partially to defend in opposition to the Spaniard’s forehand that had tormented the Swiss for therefore a few years. Unexpectedly, Federer had one other main, after a five-year drought, and one other epic chapter in opposition to his most iconic rival.

    <a href=Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, 2017 Australian Open” />
    Photograph Credit score: Scott Barbour/Getty Photographs
    With impeccable professionalism, Federer resisted the passing of the years regardless of a blinding profession already underneath his belt, successful the final 4 finals he performed in opposition to Nadal on Tour. Removed from resigning himself to a altering of the guard, the Swiss’ competitiveness prolonged this once-in-a-lifetime rivalry.

    Their final two conferences couldn’t have been extra becoming. A win for Nadal at Roland Garros and one for Federer at Wimbledon, the phases the place these two legends had constructed the foundations of their respective legacies introduced their joint masterpiece to a detailed.

    “I’ve at all times had the utmost respect for my good friend Rafa as an individual and a champion,” mentioned Federer. “My rival for a few years, I believe we have now pressured one another to be higher gamers. I’ve seen many hardworking and provoking gamers, however in my view you had been probably the most influential of all. You helped me change into the participant I’m immediately.”

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    Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic

    H2H: 27-23 Djokovic
    Grand Slam encounters: 11-6 Djokovic
    Grand Slam finals: 4-1 Djokovic
    Nitto ATP Finals encounters: 3-3
    ATP Masters 1000 encounters: 11-9 Djokovic
    ATP Masters 1000 finals: 5-3 Djokovic
    Encounters in finals: 13-6 Djokovic

    In one other epic rivalry that introduced equal measure of enjoyment and heartbreak, Federer battled Djokovic extra instances than another participant on Tour, with a complete of fifty astonishingly intense clashes of their ATP Head2Head sequence. Djokovic is the one participant to have overwhelmed Federer in any respect the majors and the Swiss is the one one to have finished likewise to Novak.

    Whereas Federer got here out on prime of their first 4 encounters, taking 10 consecutive units from a youthful Djokovic in 2006-2007 throughout a time when he was the undisputed No. 1, the Serbian channelled the expertise into some of the intense assaults the game has seen.

    From that second on, they occupied a number one position within the combat to be the perfect on tour, solely crossing paths when the most important prizes had been at stake. The next 46 clashes that made up their rivalry included solely semi-finals, finals and the Nitto ATP Finals, with Djokovic claiming a 27-23 edge general.

    <a href=Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, 2016 Australian Open” />
    Photograph Credit score: Scott Barbour/Getty Photographs
    Their two semi-finals on the US Open, the place the 2 gamers pushed each other to their limits in 2010 and 2011 and the beautiful survival expertise of Djokovic had been in full impact, will dwell on lengthy within the reminiscences of tennis lovers. In each five-set matches, at considered one of Roger’s happiest looking grounds, the place he had claimed 5 consecutive titles (2004-2008), Novak dug his heels in, saving match factors underneath the floodlights of New York.

    The 2011 season was an particularly intense one for each gamers. In some of the astonishing seasons of all time, Djokovic prolonged his successful streak to 43 matches, a historic run that ended within the semi-finals of the French Open. There, with a possibility to underline his authority, Federer got here out on prime of considered one of their most epic encounters, lifting a finger to the sky as soon as victory was his, a reminder that the No. 1 spot was maybe not the unique property of the Serb.

    In a rivalry that travelled around the globe, London performed a significant position. Djokovic claimed the Nitto ATP Finals trophy in opposition to Roger in 2012, 2014 and 2015, an indication of each gamers’ skill to face out on indoor courts, and the 2 would change into the good fashionable dominant forces of the event that caps off the season. Roger’s ultimate win there, within the group stage in 2019, underlined his skill to sq. off in opposition to the strongest gamers at the same time as he approached his 40s.

    England’s capital can be house to the lawns of Wimbledon, the place they’ve produced some unforgettable battles on the most conventional occasion on the Tour. When Federer received their epic five-set semi-final in 2012 earlier than reclaiming the No. 1 spot, Djokovic’s response was resounding. The Serbian is the one participant who has overwhelmed the Swiss in three Wimbledon finals (2014, 2015, 2019), conquering the wonderland that Roger had made his personal.

    <a href=Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, 2014 Wimbledon” />
    Photograph Credit score: Al Bello/Getty Photographs
    The final of these clashes, throughout which he saved two match factors on the return, and which reached 12-12 within the deciding set, was one of many pinnacles of their rivalry. With a ninth Wimbledon trophy inside his grasp, the defeat was arguably the hardest second within the Swiss participant’s profession.

    The best phases have supplied the backdrop for his or her historical past collectively on court docket. A complete of 20 ties at ATP Masters 1000 occasions, through which they’ve confronted one another at each one of many class’s occasions bar Madrid, took their rivalry to each nook of the globe. They performed finals in Indian Wells, Shanghai, Canada, Rome and Cincinnati (4 instances).

    “We’ve performed some unbelievable matches,” acknowledged Federer. “Every time I’m going on court docket in opposition to him, the match is brutal. It’s thrilling as a result of it goes past the match, it transcends the game.

    “Novak performs completely on each floor. He at all times brings an especially excessive stage, to beat him you need to play your finest. He strikes splendidly and I’ve nice coordination so we’re a great match for each other.

    “Rivalries are necessary in sport. I believe they assist make it extra common. You at all times want somebody with whom you possibly can have a great rivalry. Fortuitously, I used to be capable of have one with Djokovic. We introduced the perfect out in each other.”

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