Great rivalries engage fans, stir the media, and swell attendance.
It does not matter if the contenders meet in the ring, on the gridiron or on the fabled lawns of Wimbledon.
When the two rivals stare each other down before the game begins, the outcome rivets our attention.
In the Open Era of tennis, fans flocked to watch Borg vs. McEnroe, Evert vs. Navratilova––or feel free to insert your own favorite rivalry here.
But never in the history of the game has there been a more compelling rivalry as the one between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
We are witnessing perhaps the two greatest men ever to play the game of tennis continue their domination over a very talented men’s field as they leapfrog each other for the top spot.
Currently, Nadal has grasped the brass ring, determined to hold on for the duration.
But Federer is playing some of his most inspired tennis since losing in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Novak Djokovic.
At age 29, Federer is determined to play on, adding to his already considerable legacy.
Federer and Nadal have met 22 times with Nadal leading in their head to head 14-8.
12 of their matches have been on clay, seven on hard courts, and three on grass courts.
Playing practically perfect tennis against Roger Federer evolved into an art form for Rafael Nadal.
Nothing inspires him more or engages his senses more completely than striving to match his considerable strengths against the man many proclaim as the best player ever to wield a tennis racket.
The quixotic mission to overtake Federer that has driven Nadal for the his entire career continues to spur both men to even greater heights.
Many hoped to see another chapter written in this stirring saga at the 2011 Australian Open. But Nadal, injured, fell to his countryman David Ferrer in the quarterfinals before the two could meet again on the field of battle.