Home > All > Federer versus Nadal—An In-Depth Comparison

Federer versus Nadal—An In-Depth Comparison

The two most commonly heard names in tennis, Federer and Nadal, are names of legend. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have both carved their names in the history of tennis and they’ll stay there for the rest of time.

Federer, who currently holds the record for most Slam titles won, has dominated the grass court with his one-handed backhand and extremely accurate serve while Nadal, who holds the greatest number of Roland Garros titles and trails Federer’s Slam count by three, has dominated the clay with a mindset of steel and one of the strongest forehands on the tour right now.

That being said, these two have created a lasting rivalry which has been going on for nearly a decade and a half. Each time, one manages to one-up the other and together, these two have created some of the most memorable matches in history.

For example, the 2008 Wimbledon final which Nadal finally won 9-7 in the fifth set against Roger Federer lasted nearly five hours—four hours and forty-eight minutes to be exact. This was also the first Wimbledon title that Roger Federer gave up to Nadal. The infamous 2008 Wimbledon final is just one of many matchups they’ve faced and each time they face, it seems to be a battle which no tennis fan forgets. To this day, people constantly look forward to the famous “Fedal” match as the rivalry has been coined.

So, when it comes down to betting, which one is the better choice? There are several things you need to take into account before you can make your decision. For example, you need to know their past records as well as how each player’s been performing right now. After you learn this, then you can truly make your decision on which player is the better option.

The Past Matches

These two players have had quite the history going back in forth on the court. Right now, as of October 18th 2018, Rafael Nadal leads versus Roger Federer 23-15. However, since 2015, Roger Federer has won all five meetings. Before that, though, Rafael Nadal was on a five match winning spree versus Roger Federer. He had beaten him at Indian Wells, Rome, Cincinnati, the ATP Finals, and the Australian Open before Roger Federer finally broke the streak.

Other than that, they’ve gone back and forth with each other and throughout it all, they’ve developed some extremely memorable matches. In fact, some of these matches were so epic that they’ve gone down in history as some of the best matches ever.

Some of Their Most Famous Matches

Perhaps the one remembered by all is the 2008 Wimbledon Championship final between the prime Roger Federer and the prime Rafael Nadal. Both players were playing some of the best tennis of their career but it’s the history that made this match so crucial.

In 2006, Rafael Nadal lost in four sets to Roger Federer, two of which went to tiebreakers. In 2007, Rafael Nadal played even better than the previous year but yet again, he fell short of winning the final as he lost the fifth set 2-6 to give Roger Federer yet another Wimbledon title. In 2008, Nadal was playing at a level that he hadn’t played at in the 2006 and 2007 Wimbledon final but at the same time, so was Roger Federer. Roger Federer had cruised right through every single opponent he faced.

The two played arguably the best tennis they had ever played with both players saving set points left and right. At one point, Roger Federer managed to save a championship point by hitting one of the most memorable shots in his career: a passing one-handed backhand that had little chance of success.

In the end, as the sun began to set on the stadium, Rafael Nadal finally managed to break the maestro of the grass court and hold his serve. By doing this, he ousted out Roger Federer’s legacy of winning consecutive Wimbledon titles and broke the drought he had encountered of never winning Wimbledon.

Another memorable match which has gone down into the history books is their 2017 Australian Open final encounter. Before this match, the last time a “Fedal” Grand Slam final had happened was in 2011. Both players had struggled with their game and Novak Djokovic’s appearance made it increasingly difficult to actually re-encounter their nemesis in a final.

But the 2017 Australian Open had everything work out perfectly. First off, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were put on opposite sides of the draw. Second off, there was no Novak Djokovic to worry about as he was taken out by a rogue Denis Istomin early into the Australian Open.

Thirdly, both of these players had reached the semifinals several times before but fell short of a “Fedal” final match due to several unconventional losses. This year, they both managed to fight through and win their semifinal match.

For Rafael Nadal, it was a grueling five set match versus Alexander Zverev first and then an even harder five set match versus Grigor Dimitrov who was playing some of the best tennis of his life. Both matches, he barely managed to evade defeat in the fifth set by one crucial break.

As for Roger Federer, he faced a similar journey. The Swiss player first went five sets against Kei Nishikori who managed to grab an early set lead against the “maestro” himself but Roger Federer managed to fight back and take the three sets to win it all.

In the semifinal match, Roger Federer faced off against fellow doubles partner and Swiss teammate, Stanislas Wawrinka. Despite usually beating Wawrinka in straight sets, Roger Federer nearly lost as he took the first two sets but lost the momentum and Wawrinka took the next two sets before Federer managed to turn it all around and win the match.

In the final, the duel for the title went back and forth between the two as each set taken was a decisive victory for either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. However, in the end, Roger Federer took the title after more than three and a half hours of play.

Perhaps their third most famous match was their meetup in the 2006 ATP Masters Rome event where both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were contesting to win the final. Despite being the more dominant player on this particular surface, Rafael Nadal quickly found Roger to be a match not easily handled.

After all, before the meeting, Rafael Nadal had been the dominant player on clay, pulling off shots that Roger could not match with his blazing forehand and backhand. However, at the 2006 ATP Masters Rome final, Roger was playing a whole different style. Roger was outlasting Rafa on some of the longer rallies—it was usually the other way around—and he was being patient with his shots. This led to him winning the first tiebreaker 7-1 to secure him the first set.

Of course, Rafael Nadal bounced back, but only barely as he managed to secure two major points in the second set tie breaker to win the second set 7-6 (5). The third set yet again went in favor of Rafael Nadal with the Spaniard winning it 6-4 off a crucial break. Roger Federer then pounced back and dominated the fourth set, winning it 6-2, before the two players went to a fifth set decider. The fifth set went to a tiebreaker and it was a battle of back and forth with both players fighting for a slight edge over the other.

However, Rafael Nadal yet again won two crucial points to win it 7-5 in the fifth set tiebreaker and ensure his spot as the rightful king of clay. The significance behind this match lies in the fact that this was the first time Roger Federer challenged Nadal’s domain and almost won. It would be the only time he ever came close to beating Rafa on clay and the only fifth set Roger would reach on Rafa’s home court.

All three of these matches are matches that have been remembered in history. Each of these are talked about everyday by die-hard tennis fans and they will be forever ingrained in every single fan who has a passion for tennis.

Playing Style: Roger vs. Rafa

The difference between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and what makes their rivalry so great is the fact that both the players are extremely well at what they do. But they do it differently. In fact, they are complete opposites of each other.

Roger Federer focuses more on attacking and finishing the point early while Rafael Nadal isn’t afraid to grind twenty to thirty shots before even considering attacking the opponent. Despite the drastically different playstyles, they both play their own game so well that this has led to them both being mirror opposites of each other but completely level in skill.

Roger’s Playstyle

For Roger Federer, the Swiss player tends to hit the ball fast. He focuses more on using his serve to dictate the game and tries to hold serve till he can break his opponent. He doesn’t make his game too flashy and focuses on the fundamentals. However, his talent pool is so large that he doesn’t have to try to show off. He does it naturally.

Whenever he plays his points out, he plays it like a surgeon—with absolute precision. As soon as he serves, he’s already built out the game plan and knows exactly where he’s going and what he needs to do in order to execute everything perfectly.

Right now, his serve is considered to be the most threatening in the game due to how well he can place the ball. His forehand and backhand, despite his old age, aren’t mediocre either. They’re extremely fast and if you give him any space to move, he’ll punish you for it.

Furthermore, he’s an expert at the traditional volley and knows how to end points faster than most players. At one point, he ended one whole game faster than it took for Rafael Nadal to win one single point. This shows you the efficiency that Roger can have when he’s in his zone. There’s a reason so many people call him the greatest of all time and throughout his career, he’s proven his worth more than once.

Rafa’s Playstyle

I would be lying if I said that Rafael Nadal’s playstyle wasn’t one of the most tiring there is. In fact, you can get tired from watching him play because he plays some of the most grind-worthy tennis you’ll see anyone play.

Rafael Nadal’s mind set is “I don’t quit.” He doesn’t quit for a ball. He doesn’t quit for a match. He doesn’t quit unless his life depends on it and that’s why he’s such a successful tennis player. The main keys behind his game is his huge topspin forehand and his ability to move. Rafael Nadal, right now, is only matched by Novak Djokovic in speed and endurance. Rafael Nadal has time and time again played near five hour matches and been ready for the next match to come like he’s full of energy.

And when he’s on the court, it’s extremely hard to beat him. Since he has a topspin forehand that penetrates the baseline nearly every time and speed that makes you hit one extra shot, it’s nearly impossible to beat Rafael Nadal the longer the rally goes. That’s why Rafael Nadal has excelled on the clay court throughout his entire career—because he can run down literally any ball sent at him. The clay court is built to make the ball slower and also institute a new form of movement throughout the court: sliding.

His speed also lets him create some very unorthodox shots such as the banana shot which makes him very strong when it comes to passing his opponents. The grinding mentality and his inability to make errors makes him a very dangerous man and one that Federer will definitely have trouble beating.

Recent History

One crucial piece to being able to determine which of these two legends can win when they face off on the court is by looking at their past performances in the tournaments they recently played. Nine times out of ten, the one who’s been putting out better results will win the matchup.

If you look through the rivalry of Federer versus Nadal, the person who wins the match is always the one who has had the better record leading into the match. Thus, this is one of the most crucial factors to watch over betting-wise.

Rafael Nadal’s History

Right now, Rafael Nadal hasn’t been too active on the court and that’s due to the fact that he’s suffered a knee injury. During the US Open, Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw from his semifinal match versus Juan Martin Del Potro because of this and it’s prohibited him from playing in any of the Asian ATP tournaments as well.

However, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a great record beforehand. Rafael Nadal had already won the Roland Garros tournament before his withdrawal and faced a close loss to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon where he lost the fifth and final set 8-10. He also found himself winning three Masters ATP 1000 tournaments before this, the Rogers Cup, Monte Carlo, and Rome. All three of these were fairly easy wins as he completely destroyed the opposition. He also managed to take an ATP 500 title at Barcelona.

That being said, Rafael Nadal has had a fairly strong season. He’s dominated the clay courts and he played pretty well on the hard court. Despite having to exit a portion of the season due to injury, Rafa has still taken over the rankings.

Roger Federer’s History

Roger Federer has had one of the most exciting careers since 2017 but it’s kind of fallen off as the year has gone by. He hasn’t won a title since June and it seems as if he’s choking away tournaments left and right.

At the start of the season, Roger started out extremely strong by winning the Australian Open. He would then go on to win the Rotterdam Open and then the Mercedes Cup. However, before the Mercedes Cup, he suffered a disappointing final loss to Juan Martin Del Potro despite having several match points to close the game.

Then, in Miami, Roger Federer lost first round to Thanasi Kokkinakis in a straight set upset. After that, at Wimbledon, Roger yet again faced an upset to Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals in five sets despite having a match point in the third set. Then, with the re-arrival of Novak Djokovic, it seemed as if Federer wouldn’t have much to work with as he would lose the Cincinnati Final. Furthermore, he faced another upset as he lost to John Millman in the Round of 16.

All around, Federer’s season has gotten progressively worse. He hasn’t been producing the results he used to in 2017 and the years before and it’s been frustrating to the fans. However, he can still better his results before the Nitto ATP Finals.

Who Wins the Matchup Right Now?

It’s tough to say, considering that Rafael Nadal is resting an injury and Roger’s had an off year but when you look at it overall, Rafael Nadal seems to win the matches. He has the better history throughout the rivalry as he’s won twenty three of their past thirty eight rivalry matches.

Furthermore, Federer is aging fast. At the age of thirty-seven, it’s hard to match most young player’s dexterity and speed and Rafael Nadal possesses just that. Because of this, Nadal can outlast Roger on the court. Of course, one injury can change everything but that doesn’t mean Nadal won’t fight through it. Nadal has fought through countless injuries and this means that Roger Federer will never expect an easy fight win playing this man.

The Federer versus Nadal rivalry is one of ageless legend. Even after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal retire, their legacy will be told around the world. They’ve had and continue to have one of the biggest rivalries to this day and it’s gotten so large that they even have a nickname for it: “Fedal.”

From a betting standpoint, it’s good to know which player can come out on top more than the opposing player. It provides the highest chance at making profitable returns and looking at the statistics, it seems as if Rafael Nadal might have the better chance.

After all, he has the better winning record against Federer while also having a better tournament run throughout this season. That being said, despite Federer being one of the toughest opponents Rafael Nadal has ever played, the Spaniard will probably take the cake in this timeless rivalry.

Leave a Comment