Federer hails ‘greatest rival’ Nadal

Roger Federer hailed his “greatest rival” after Rafael Nadal equalled his record of 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles in devastating fashion.

Nadal, 34, comprehensively outplayed the other member of the sport’s ‘Big Three’, Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to claim his 13th French Open title.

“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion,” the Swiss great tweeted.
In response, Nadal thanked Federer and said their relationship “means a lot”.

The Spaniard continued: “As everybody know we have a very, very good relationship and we respect each other a lot and at the same time I think he is happy when I am winning and I’m happy when he is doing things well.

“In some ways it means a lot, the positive relationship we have together because we have been going through a great rivalry for a very, very long time.”

Federer, who missed Roland Garros this year after knee surgery, added: “I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.

“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players.

“Therefore, it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory. It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.

“I also congratulate his team because nobody can do this alone,” Federer, 39, added. “Well done Rafa. You deserve it.”

BBC Online