Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, there is a hidden side to a relationship that has endured for more than two decades
By Laura Stutzman
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been friends for over 30 years. The pair went to the 2011 US Open together, and their friendship has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since.
Roger Federer has spoken about Nadal as his ‘best friend’ since the beginning of their relationship, and the Swiss Open is the latest competition they have been to together.
The pair have a history of playing alongside each other at both Grand Slams and Masters tournaments, and have been friends since childhood. The relationship has also seen Nadal come to Roger’s rescue numerous times over the years during tournaments and match situations.
Federer and Nadal first met at the French Open in 1992, where they played in the first match of the Open Era. It was an intense match in which Nadal pulled out a controversial victory, after Federer was visibly off-balance at one point. As the Swiss put it on his website on the day of the match, “When you are close to Rafa in confidence, you are in trouble.”
Throughout many a match, Federer has been known to stand with Nadal and call on him to serve to break. The pair have also enjoyed one of their best tennis matches on clay at the French Open, with Federer winning six of their seven matches together at Roland Garros.
However, their friendship has not always been as calm and harmonious as in the past, both Federer and Nadal frequently being critical of each other on the tennis courts. Federer has also come under fire for his comments about Nadal’s father on his Facebook page, which the player has stated is a “private matter.”
The pair have been friends since the early-to-mid 1990’s when both were teenagers. Their love for each other and their belief in each other have served the duo well over the course of their friendship. Federer would admit in an interview in 2004 that he was looking up to Nadal’s father, who Federer described as being “the best man