In the world of sports, rivals are often motivated by each other. In the world of tennis there is no better rivalry than that of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Off the pitch, however, these players share a friendly bond with each other.
Earlier this year, the entire world was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was the longest stretch that the various sports have covered without any tournament. Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II and the French Open was also postponed to the following month. Each player has been quarantined in their own homes.
With the lack of tournaments and the nearly five-month hiatus, fans are skeptical of players returning to their original form, particularly Federer. A few months ago, Roger Federer announced that he would be taking a hiatus from the 2020 season due to his injuries. The legend has won 20 Grand Slam titles, the most for any male player in history. Now, Nadal has the opportunity to tie that record to the French Open because Nadal will not participate in the next US Open.
After Federer and Nadal withdrew from the US Open, fans debated whether his rival’s decision affected Nadal. However, in a recent interview, Nadal revealed that Federer’s career choices have nothing to do with him.
“I don’t think Roger continues to play tennis for me or anyone” Rafa said. “He continues to play tennis because he likes the sport and because he likes to continue playing tennis. For this simple reason, because he likes to do what he does, his passion. It is the same as it was several years ago. “
(Quotes have been translated from Spanish)
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Federer has already had a similar setback in 2016. He missed six months of the tour due to knee surgery. At the time, he was not long held back by this setback and returned in 2017 to win the Australian Open, his 18th Major title.
However, experts warn that this feat may not repeat itself. In 2021, Roger Federer will be closer to 40. But Nadal seems certain Federer has still maintained his passion for the game. Only time will tell if this passion will see Federer take more victories once he’s back in action.