10 Year Federer-Nadal Rivalry

Roger Federer on Rafael Nadal:

"I've done and lived the most with him [Nadal]. From five-set matches on court, to promoting a tournament in Qatar, to doing foundation work together in the 'Match for Africa'. And I've gone to dinners with him.
"I know his family the best, as well. I know his mum, dad and sister. Yeah, our bond goes further back than the one I have with Novak or Andy. And for that reason I feel closest and most connected to Rafa."

The Federer/Nadal #FeDal rivalry is a storied one, which many consider to be one of the greatest in tennis history.  They have played 33 times, most recently in the 2014 Australian Open Semi-finals, and Nadal leads their ten-year-old rivalry 23–10.

Federer and Nadal are the only pair of men to have finished six consecutive calendar years as the top two ranked players on the ATP Tour, which they did from 2005–2010. They also hold the record of longest consecutive reign at world no. 1 and 2. They held the top two rankings for 211 consecutive weeks between July 2005 to August 2009, until Andy Murray displaced Nadal as the world no. 2. But in 2013, Nadal became No.1 for the third time while Federer dropped to No.6.

Nadal has won 13 of their 15 encounters on clay courts, 9 of their 15 encounters on hard court, whereas Federer has won 2 out of their 3 meetings on grass courts. Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, with the top two seeds placed on opposite sides of the draw, 20 of their 33 matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record 8 Grand Slam finals, and 10 Masters Series finals. Another 9 of their matches have been semifinals, 2 have been quarterfinals, with only 2 taking place before the last-8 stage. In 26 matches out of 33 between Nadal and Federer, the winner of the first set won the match.

From 2006 to 2008 they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Their 2008 Wimbledon final was lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.

Federer–Nadal (10–23)
No.YearTournamentSurfaceRoundWinnerScoreLength (H:MM)SetsFedererNadal
1.2004United States MiamiHardR32Nadal6–3, 6–31:102/301
2.2005United States MiamiHardFinalFederer2–6, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 6–13:435/511
3.2005France Roland GarrosClaySemi-finalNadal6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–32:474/512
4.2006United Arab Emirates DubaiHardFinalNadal2–6, 6–4, 6–41:533/313
5.2006Monaco Monte CarloClayFinalNadal6–2, 6–7(2–7), 6–3, 7–6(7–5)3:504/514
6.2006Italy RomeClayFinalNadal6–7(0–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)5:055/515
7.2006France Roland GarrosClayFinalNadal1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)3:024/516
8.2006United Kingdom WimbledonGrassFinalFederer6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–32:584/526
9.2006China Tennis Masters CupHard (i)Semi-finalFederer6–4, 7–51:532/336
10.2007Monaco Monte CarloClayFinalNadal6–4, 6–41:352/337
11.2007Germany HamburgClayFinalFederer2–6, 6–2, 6–01:553/347
12.2007France Roland GarrosClayFinalNadal6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–43:104/548
13.2007United Kingdom WimbledonGrassFinalFederer7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–23:455/558
14.2007China Tennis Masters CupHard (i)Semi-finalFederer6–4, 6–10:592/368
15.2008Monaco Monte CarloClayFinalNadal7–5, 7–51:432/369
16.2008Germany HamburgClayFinalNadal7–5, 6–7(3–7), 6–32:523/3610
17.2008France Roland GarrosClayFinalNadal6–1, 6–3, 6–01:483/5611
18.2008United Kingdom WimbledonGrassFinalNadal6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–74:485/5612
19.2009Australia Australian OpenHardFinalNadal7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–24:235/5613
20.2009Spain MadridClayFinalFederer6–4, 6–41:262/3713
21.2010Spain MadridClayFinalNadal6–4, 7–6(7–5)2:102/3714
22.2010United Kingdom ATP World Tour FinalsHard (i)FinalFederer6–3, 3–6, 6–11:373/3814
23.2011United States MiamiHardSemi-finalNadal6–3, 6–21:182/3815
24.2011Spain MadridClaySemi-finalNadal5–7, 6–1, 6–32:363/3816
25.2011France Roland GarrosClayFinalNadal7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–13:404/5817
26.2011United Kingdom ATP World Tour FinalsHard (i)RRFederer6–3, 6–01:002/3917
27.2012Australia Australian OpenHardSemi-finalNadal6–7(5–7), 6–2, 7–6(7–5), 6–43:424/5918
28.2012United States Indian WellsHardSemi-finalFederer6–3, 6–41:312/31018
29.2013United States Indian WellsHardQuarter-finalNadal6–4, 6–21:242/31019
30.2013Italy RomeClayFinalNadal6–1, 6–31:082/31020
31.2013United States CincinnatiHardQuarter-finalNadal5–7, 6–4, 6–32:143/31021
32.2013United Kingdom ATP World Tour FinalsHard (i)Semi-finalNadal7–5, 6–31:192/31022
33.2014Australia Australian OpenHardSemi-finalNadal7–6(7–4), 6–3, 6–32:243/51023

Career Evaluation:

Federer and Nadal were born just under four years and 10 months apart. Federer's birthday is August 8, 1981, while Nadal's is June 3, 1986. A different viewpoint of their career evolution is offered by taking the season they entered with an age of 17 as starting point. For instance in 2004, Federer finished the season being 23 years old, having accumulated a career record of four Grand Slam titles and a total of 22 singles titles, and ranked No.1. By comparison, Nadal finished the 2008 season aged 22, having accumulated five grand slams and 31 singles titles in total, and also ranked No.1.
Age at end of season18192021222324252627282930313233
Switzerland Federer's season1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Spain Nadal's season2004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Grand Slam titlesFederer0000146912131516161717(17)
Grand Slam match winsFederer072026396185112138162188208228247260(265)
Total titlesFederer00141122334553576166707677(78)
Total match winsFederer1551100158236310391483551617678743807878923(945)
Weeks at number 1Federer0000048100152204237262285285302302(302)


Federer—Nadal (1–2)
1.2004United States Indian WellsHardR32Nadal/Robredo5–7, 6–4, 6–3Federer/Allegro01
2.2007Italy RomeClayR32Nadal/Moyá6–4, 7–6(7–5)Federer/Wawrinka02
3.2011United States Indian WellsHardSemi-finalFederer/Wawrinka7–5, 6–3Nadal/M. López12

  • Only pair in Open Era history to have met 8 times in Grand Slam finals
  • Only pair in Open Era history to have met 4 times in finals at one Slam (at the French Open)
  • Record of 5 matches played against each other at the French Open (shared with Djokovic-Nadal rivalry)
  • Record of 20 finals played against each other on the ATP tour
  • Record of 10 finals played against each other in Masters 1000 (shared with Djokovic-Nadal rivalry)
  • This rivalry is ranked seventh in terms of matches played.
  • Record of most Grand Slam matches played (tied with Djokovic-Nadal and Federer-Djokovic)
Head-to-head tallies
The following is a breakdown of their head-to-head results:
  • All matches: Nadal, 23–10
  • All finals: Nadal, 14–6
  • Grand Slam matches: Nadal, 9–2
  • Australian Open: Nadal, 3–0
  • French Open: Nadal, 5–0
  • Wimbledon: Federer, 2–1
  • US Open: Have not met
  • Grand Slam finals: Nadal, 6–2
  • Tennis Masters Cup/ATP World Tour Finals matches: Federer, 4–1
  • Tennis Masters Cup/ATP World Tour Finals finals: Federer, 1–0
  • ATP Masters Series/ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches: Nadal, 12–4
  • ATP Masters Series/ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals: Nadal, 7–3
  • ATP World Tour 500/ATP International Series Gold matches: Nadal, 1–0
  • ATP World Tour 500/ATP International Series Gold finals: Nadal, 1–0
  • Best of five set matches: Nadal, 12–3
  • Five-set matches: Nadal, 3–2
  • Best of three set matches: Nadal, 12–7
  • Outdoor courts: Nadal, 22–6
  • Indoor courts: Federer, 4–1

Results on each court surface
  • Clay courts: Nadal, 13–2
  • Hard courts: Nadal, 9–6
  • Outdoor: Nadal, 8–2
  • Indoor: Federer, 4–1
  • Grass courts: Federer, 2–1
Tom Rinaldi on Federer-Nadal 33


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