Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal share a rivalry like no other in the history of tennis. Their unique styles of play and thrilling encounters have blessed the sport and fans alike. But, after dominating the sport for almost a decade, the careers of the two superstars were believed to be past their prime, with their rivalry declared a thing of the past.
A year ago, the world of tennis was undergoing a transition at the very top. The new pair on the stage was that of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The best the Swiss-Spaniard duo could do was to continue as part of the high-achieving quartet (of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) but no longer as its two strongest pillars.
Both injured and written off by many a year ago, Federer traveled to Nadal’s hometown of Manacor on the Spanish island of Mallorca to help open his academy. The duo spent some time to reconsider their approach towards the game amid speculations over their retirements.
As of today, however, all those predictions have been proven wrong.
2017 has so far been the year when tennis went back to the future. For the first time since 2010 Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal picked up the first two slams of the year, and the thrilling Australian Open final between the two evergreen legends was a reminder of why the match-up is viewed by most observers as the greatest rivalry in tennis, and possibly even in all of sport.
So far this year, Federer and Nadal have shared 12 titles between them, including all the four Grand Slams — the Australian Open and Wimbledon went to the former, and the French Open and US Open to the latter. While their passion and grit for the game has surely been pivotal for their comeback, Nadal’s academy has also played its part.
As the Rafael Nadal Academy celebrated their one-year anniversary, Federer sent in a conratulatory messsage to the Spanish tennis star and his academy. “I just wanted to congratulate the Rafael Nadal Academy on their one-year anniversary and all their team and family – they’ve worked incredibly hard to make this possible and you’ve now got one of the premier academies around the world,” Federer said.
“I don’t think Rafa nor myself thought we were going to have the year we had but maybe it all started after the Rafael Nadal Academy so I hope I get an invitation there again so I can get inspired with all the juniors and seeing the academy up and running – I would love to come back,” he added.
But, while Federer expressed his desire to return to the academy in anticipation of yet another successful year, Nadal claimed that he would ban the Swiss ace from his academy. Replying to Federer, Nadal said: “You know, the invitation is always open for you, this is your house. Your kids, your family, everybody is very welcome here. The only thing that cannot happen again is after coming here you play that well again. If that happens, I don’t invite you”.
Well, ofcourse Nadal was kidding as he quickly added: “Just a joke! See you soon”.
An year ago the players were both injured and were on a tennis court together not for a competitive match but for the opening of Nadal’s academy in Mallorca, and now they have not only returned to top form, but have also occupied top two spots in world rankings.
Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Source of news : Mensxp