Since their first crossing on a court, in Miami 2004, the Swiss and the Spanish changed the history of tennis and became two myths that are still active.
The two began to strengthen each other from that first duel they starred in March 2004, in Miami cement. By then Roger Federer was 22 years old, he was already number 1 in the world and had won two Grand Slams: Wimbledon in 2003 and Australia two months earlier; Rafael Nadal, five years younger, was 34th in the rankings and had not even obtained his first title that would come five months later.
More than 16 years passed and both continue to write the great history of tennis and, as he wrote Toni Nadal hours after their nephew won his 13th Roland Garros, they “elevated their own sport to a higher category.” Or they changed the history of a sport until they became two myths still in activity. Because they are champions and are recognized as such. And then they respect each other. And they admire each other too. And even if the Swiss has not played since the beginning of February, there is still healthy competition between the two. They also know that there is a third (Novak Djokovic) who is on their heels and they do not want to give up the fight. For something Federer said that he is ready – and eager – for his return. That is why Nadal trained in the heat of his native Manacor to return to the circuit after being stopped by the pandemic, knowing that in Bois de Boulogne he would have a great chance of catching up with his huge adversary in the stratospheric 20 Grand Slams.
Federer and Nadal are not friends and even at some point they show and express their differences regarding the future of tennis. But tennis in particular and sport in general have to be forever grateful to them. Because that same tennis and that same sport are the ones that are also enhanced by their triumphs, their titles and their feats.