Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal: Who is the best ever?

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2010


14-7 Overall Head to Head

6-2 Head to Head in Majors

Do those numbers look like someone who owns the other? I would say so.

Many say Roger Federer is the best player ever, which I would agree with for the most part, however Rafa Nadal has a case to be right there, and be able to surpass him with time.

Rafa is 5 years younger and should he win the US Open, he will be ahead of Rogers pace for Major Championships at this age.

Roger may be the most complete player ever, but his “Superman” has a very strong dose of Kryptonite in the air. Like no other dominant player of his time (Pete Sampras, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods pre Thanksgiving 2009) Roger Federer faces an opponent who really has his number like never before.

One other edge you can add to the list above is that Rafa beat Roger, on grass, at Wimbledon for his first (of two) Wimbledon championships. Roger won his only French Open vs. Robin Soderling, not Rafa Nadal. Rafa did lose to Soderling that year in the French, however Roger is yet to beat Rafa on his best surface, at a major.

Here is a complete breakdown of head to head stats as of today, September 9, 2010. As you can see, Nadal owns pretty much every H2H stat:

• All matches: Nadal 14–7

• All finals: Nadal 12–5

• Grand Slams: Nadal 6–2

• Grand Slam finals: Nadal 5–2

• Best of five sets: Nadal 8–3

• Masters Cup: Federer 2–0

• Masters Series: Nadal 7–3

• Masters Series finals: Nadal 6–3

• Clay courts: Nadal 10–2 (best of five: Nadal 6–0)

• Hard courts: 3–3

• Grass courts: Federer 2–1

This is not to say Rafa is better than Roger…yet, however it does show how great Rafa really is, since at the end of the day, we can all agree Roger is probably the best all around player, ever! With time though, and barring injury, Rafa can close the gap, and maybe pass Roger since in the end, it all comes down to Major Championship where Roger has a “Major” edge: 16-8.