Rafael Nadal has made a splendid return to Wimbledon after a gap of three years. He dropped a set each in his victories in the first two rounds before scripting a dominating straight-set win against Lorezo Sonego to the fourth round in the Wimbledon for the fourth successive time in his career, which included two runs to the semi-final as well. And ahead of his big round of 16 match, against Botic van de Zandschulp, on the Centre Court, Nadal had a special message for Roger Federer.
Despite his third-round match being filled with controversy which left journalists eager to decipher in the post-match conference, for which Nadal had even apologised, the Spaniard shifted focus to his old rival Federer. The Swiss maestro has been absent from tennis since the 2021 Wimbledon where he had lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinal.
The Nadal-Federer rivalry, better known as FEDAL, has been one of the most loved and watched rivalry in sports history, with their greatest ever meeting being at the All England Club, back in 2008 when the Spaniard had defeated Federer in a five-set epic thriller to claim his maiden Wimbledon title.
Nadal said: “I think I answered that question, but I’m gonna say it again. Well, it’s a negative thing. But the life, that’s the circle of life, you know. Time happens, and the watch, the clock never stops. This kind of stuff we need to get use. But in a personal way, of course my personal relationship with Roger have been always great, and probably my greatest rival.
Rafael Nadal yesterday: “I personally miss Federer in the tennis tour, and tennis of course miss him.”
“At the same time all the things that we shared together on court is something difficult to describe, the emotions, all the things.And of course I personally miss him in the tennis tour, and tennis of course miss him, tournaments, fans, everyone.” The Spanish star went on to add that Federer is not just missed at SW19, but across the whole of the tour.
He went on: “We can’t create a story just about Wimbledon. I think Roger Federer is important in every single tournament. Not only Wimbledon. Is a well-missed player in every single event of tennis, without a doubt.”