Sixteen years have passed since the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry first came into limelight. Back in 2004, Roger Federer had won three Grand Slam singles titles for the first time in his career and became the first person to do so since Mats Wilander in 1988. Since then, both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have gone from strength to strength with Roger Federer winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles—the most in history for a male player.
Whereas, Rafael Nadal has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, the second-most in history for a male player. While the ATP recently suspended the season due to coronavirus, let's go back to the time when the 'Fedal' rivalry first started
The first time that Fedal (Nadal vs Federer) rivalry into the limelight was back in Miami 2004 when the tournament was called the ATP NASDAQ-100 Open. Few would have predicted the rivalry to go on for so long and also produce some memorable matches for fans over the years. Back then, Federer had won Wimbledon in 2003 and had come into the tournament after winning the 2004 Australian Open title.
Rafael Nadal was just aged 17 back then and entered the tournament after gaining a reputation of being a good clay-court player. It took a brave person to predict that Rafael Nadal would beat the then World No.1 in a one-sided encounter.
During that match, Rafael Nadal never conceded a break point and he made 81% of his first serves count. The Spaniard even won 13 of 14 net points, winning the match with an overhead smash at the net. He breezed passed Roger Federer in only 69 minutes for the best win of his career at that point. Here are the match highlights
The ATP season is on a lengthy break following the coronavirus outbreak, due to which the entire clay-court was suspended. Tennis legend Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal too are spending their time with respective families amid coronavirus. On Wednesday, Roger Federer announced that he and his wife Mirka have donated 1 million Swiss Francs to help in the coronavirus fight.
On the other hand, Rafael Nadal recently locked down his Rafael Nadal Academy in wake of the coronavirus. In an open letter, Rafael Nadal assured the parents that the children stuck at the Rafael Nadal academy will be taken care of. The 12-time French Open champion added that some personnel and staff at the Rafael Nadal Academy had volunteered to stay back to look after the students and they will be sent home as soon as possible.
(IMAGE CREDIT: ATP / TWITTER)