Federer/Nadal: By The Numbers

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2009

Roger Federer is not just the best player of this era, but he is the best player ever.

A lot of critics will argue that Federer might have the most Grand Slam titles now but his record against rival Rafael Nadal offsets that.

I beg to differ.

I will admit, Nadal is the perfect opponent for Federer. The heavy topspin to the Federer backhand is just one of the many difficulties that Nadal poses.

The current head to head record stands at 13-7 for Rafael Nadal.

At first glance, critics might be right about Federer's place but let's look at the numbers a little closer before we make a final decision.

Rafael Nadal has won four of the last five French Open titles. Until his recent loss to Robin Soderling, Nadal was considered one of, if not the best, clay court player ever.

With a career record of 179-16 on clay-with 25 titles, he's clearly the best clay court player of this era and can be mentioned with Borg.

Of the 13 losses to Nadal, nine of those have come on clay. 

On hard court and grass, Federer is 5-4 against his arch rival.

Even though I root for Federer, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Nadal.  Not just how he plays on the court but also how he handles himself off the court.

Nadal has become a much better complete player over the last two years.

We've seen that from his first loss at Wimbledon to Federer through his victory over Federer in this year's Australian Open.

However, Nadal is just 167-53 on hard courts.  While that record isn't bad, Nadal's injuries and "poor" play during the hard court season has often denied us more matches with Federer.

Federer is "only" 139-42 on clay, 88-12 on grass and 380-82 on hard court. 

I'm taking nothing away from the last two wins by Nadal at Grand Slams against Federer.  Federer served poorly but played well and lost 9-7 in that epic 5th set against Nadal.

In the Australian Open this year, Federer played a terrible 5th set and deserved to lose to Nadal.

In the end, Federer has the most Grand Slam titles and has won each of the majors. 

Federer has a few more good years in him and Nadal has quite a few more too (hopefully the knee injuries won't continue to plague him).

Hopefully we'll get 20 more match-ups between these two great players and more will be played on anything but clay.

Federer doesn't get the credit he deserves for being the second best clay court player of this era.  When the guy who is number one, might be the best ever, where is the shame in that?