Fed and Rafa cemented their rivalry as the greatest of all time with AO final

Which is the greatest tennis rivalry of all time?

  • Sampras vs Agassi

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • Serena vs Venus

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Laver vs Rosewall

    Votes: 2 3.1%
  • Djokovic vs Nadal

    Votes: 11 17.2%
  • Nadal vs Federer

    Votes: 34 53.1%
  • Borg vs McEnroe

    Votes: 3 4.7%
  • Djokovic vs Federer

    Votes: 6 9.4%
  • Navratilova vs Evert

    Votes: 7 10.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    64

TheMaestro1990

Hall of Fame
Other rivalries have had more matches and the outcome have historically been more unpredictable. But no other rivalry in the history of tennis has appealed to the sports world in the same way as when Federer and Nadal step out on the court to face each other. People who usually doesn't follow the game of tennis tune in to follow their matches, because they know they're in for something truly special. That the final of the Australian Open last Sunday was the second most viewed event in Eurosport's history is telling. And that Federer actually beat Nadal in a Major final again - for many a surprise, including me - should help cement their rilvary as THE greatest rivalry of all time, bar none. Had Nadal won, chances are that people would once again talk about their rivalry as a too predictable one.

Just to discuss their recent rivalry and its place in tennis history, I added a few other classic rivalries in the poll. Place your vote and discuss!

 

Noelan

Legend
Its Djokovic Nadal
no matter how media or forum fanboys like to spin.
Never played at one of 4 GS( I wonder why), one of the finals include bagel, 24 12 etc///
 
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Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
Murrovic have played at all slam finals, WTF finals + Olympics

muryvic goat.
Seriously though, Fedal is overrated. Never played at the USO, Fedovic and Djokodal both have more meetings, more even H2H, Fedovic have beaten each other at all slams + WTF, Djokodal have played all big finals bar Olympics
Oh and forgot one
Wawrinka-Kyrgios
 

Rafa the King

Hall of Fame
It is the greatest rivalry because of the contrasting styles and what the two have meant to the game, but 23-12 and 9-3 are still meh. And btw, Rog beatinf Rafa on a fast court shouldn't be suprising. He's done it a lot of times already.
 

maratha_warrior

Hall of Fame
Well Both are most popular tennis players ..So media selling their matches is understandable with phrases like most epic ,with most suspence , Thrilling etc etc.. But fans know it very well.. It has been the most lop-sided rivalry among the big three..
Since 2007 Fed took 10 yrs to defeat Rafa at another slam.. 10 long years . You call it epic rivalry??
If we tell the future generation that this was best Tennis rivalry during our times , they would laugh at us after going through the numbers..Srsly
Fed has the most tennis fans..
Rafa comes 2nd in terms of fans..
If their fans want to say their rivalry is the greatest , ignoring 23-12 and 9-3.. Then fine..
That is your opinion..
My opinion is Fed-Rafa matches are most viewed across the globe and maybe celebrated..
but Close matches always have been Rafa-Novak & Novak-Federer ..These are epic rivalries to be honest..
 

MasturB

Legend
The Djokovic Federer thing doesn't really appeal to me as a rivalry.

It's sad that Nole has been losing to Fed in best of 3's at some tourneys while Fed is in his mid 30's. Nole has taken advantage of old Fed at slams since Wimby 2012 loss.

They don't have any epics like Fed-Nadal. RG2011 is highlight material but again it's Old Man Fed dismantling Peak Nole so it's kind of eh.
 

Rafa the King

Hall of Fame
Nadal not showing up to face Federer when he was in poor form contributed to the H2H a lot.
I agree. It's not just Roger who didn't contribute the most he could to make it even better, Rafa too. Then again, they are 5 years apart. Rafa in 2010-2013 made lots of HC finals but Roger wasn't in his prime anymore.
 

Noelan

Legend
The Djokovic Federer thing doesn't really appeal to me as a rivalry.

It's sad that Nole has been losing to Fed in best of 3's at some tourneys while Fed is in his mid 30's. Nole has taken advantage of old Fed at slams since Wimby 2012 loss.

They don't have any epics like Fed-Nadal. RG2011 is highlight material but again it's Old Man Fed dismantling Peak Nole so it's kind of eh.
You're sad fanboy, that's the true.
User name fits
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
I agree. It's not just Roger who didn't contribute the most he could to make it even better, Rafa too. Then again, they are 5 years apart. Rafa in 2010-2013 made lots of HC finals but Roger wasn't in his prime anymore.
2013 is what skews the H2H quite a lot. Without it, the H2H would be 19-12, a bit closer.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
2013 is what skews the H2H quite a lot. Without it, the H2H would be 19-12, a bit closer.
Well Nadal had to face Federer several times before he hit prime. Just because he happened to win most of those matches doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted as being conveniently times.. but Federer couldn't take advantage.
 
Apparently I'm the only one who voted Laver-Rosewall, huh.
More total matches and big matches in particular contested than any other rivalry (also their big match H2H is 10-7 Rosewall IIRC, close enough) + still possibly the GOAT match (1972 WCT Finals F).
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
Well Nadal had to face Federer several times before he hit prime. Just because he happened to win most of those matches doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted as being conveniently times.. but Federer couldn't take advantage.
But 2013 was Federer's worst season ever at that point. That was the equivalent of Nadal's 2015. And, unsurprisingly, Nadal and Federer only played once in 2015 compared to 4 times in 2013.

How was Federer supposed to take advantage of those early years? He played Nadal on clay a lot, how was he supposed to take advantage? Rafa was prime on clay in 2005-2007.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
But 2013 was Federer's worst season ever at that point. That was the equivalent of Nadal's 2015. And, unsurprisingly, Nadal and Federer only played once in 2015 compared to 4 times in 2013.

How was Federer supposed to take advantage of those early years? He played Nadal on clay a lot, how was he supposed to take advantage? Rafa was prime on clay in 2005-2007.
First statement - very true.

Yep, it was difficult for Federer. Any half decent look into the history of the rivalry will show that the match-up problem was blatant from the start. Federer certainly had no mental block against Nadal but was losing to him or barely beating to him while Nadal wasn't even a top-10 player and even when he was he was hardly at his HC peak yet, losing to players like Blake and Berdych (IIRC) but giving Fed fits. Just one of those curious things.
 
Well Nadal had to face Federer several times before he hit prime. Just because he happened to win most of those matches doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted as being conveniently times.. but Federer couldn't take advantage.
Nadal was already in his physical prime in 2005, though, the specimen he was and is. Federer was struggling physically throughout 2013, far from prime form.

Physically prime Federer faced physically non-prime Nadal only once, Miami 04, but he was ill at the time, which nullified any physical advantage he might've held otherwise. It was a very impressive victory for Nadal anyway, of course.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Nadal was already in his physical prime in 2005, though, the specimen he was and is. Federer was struggling physically throughout 2013, far from prime form.

Physically prime Federer faced physically non-prime Nadal only once, Miami 04, but he was ill, which nullified any physical advantage he might've held otherwise. It was a very impressive victory for Nadal anyway, of course.
Agreed.. with you and also mike danny. That rapscallion, Nadal.
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
First statement - very true.

Yep, it was difficult for Federer. Any half decent look into the history of the rivalry will show that the match-up problem was blatant from the start. Federer certainly had no mental block against Nadal but was losing to him or barely beating to him while Nadal wasn't even a top-10 player and even when he was he was hardly at his HC peak yet, losing to players like Blake and Berdych (IIRC) but giving Fed fits. Just one of those curious things.
Fed won 5 of their 7 non clay matches back then. He took advantage as well as he could IMO. But since their other matches were on clay, there was little Fed could do.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
Nadal not showing up to face Federer when he was in poor form contributed to the H2H a lot.
Then you got Federer showing up a lot during his worst years to play Nadal (4 times in 2008, 4 times in 2013) which happened to be Nadal's best ever years, along with 2010.

Well Nadal had to face Federer several times before he hit prime. Just because he happened to win most of those matches doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted as being conveniently times.. but Federer couldn't take advantage.
Nadal hit his prime in 2005 when he won a grand slam and won 11 titles - including 2 HC masters.

2013 is what skews the H2H quite a lot. Without it, the H2H would be 19-12, a bit closer.
Yep. Don't forget 2008 - 3 clay meetings and of course that Wimbledon final as a result of those clay beat downs.

Fed showed up so many times to face Rafa in clay semis and finals. Judging from some posters, had he tanked every clay SF with Rafa waiting on the other side of the draw, the H2H would be what 10-10? And we wouldn't be having these silly debates regarding skewed H2H stats.
 
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ramy

New User
Open Era
female

Navratilova vs Evert.
male
Nadal vs Djokovic & Federer vs Djokovic

Pre-Open era
Gonzales vs Rosewall
in 1957 they met each other about 80 matches !!
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Fed-Nadal is magic . Anyone have any doubts watch Wimb 08 and AO 09 on replay

No matter the final outcome , the tennis was inspiring
 

Rafa the King

Hall of Fame
But 2013 was Federer's worst season ever at that point. That was the equivalent of Nadal's 2015. And, unsurprisingly, Nadal and Federer only played once in 2015 compared to 4 times in 2013.

How was Federer supposed to take advantage of those early years? He played Nadal on clay a lot, how was he supposed to take advantage? Rafa was prime on clay in 2005-2007.
Well then we take away 2015 as well no?
19-11 is still meh
But for me the match-up issue mainly plays a role on clay. The other matches are just even.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
It's not Djokovic vs Federer. They have too big a gap between their first and second slam finals. They've played a lot of semis due to seeding, but you need final matches to elevate the rivalry to the next level. You also need the semis to be competitive, preferably 5 setters, but many of them haven't been.

Fed wins AO 2007 RD of 16 in 3. Djokovic too young here to draw any serious conclusions
Fed wins USO 2007 Final in straights. Could've been closer, but at the end of the day still only 3 sets.
Djokovic wins AO 2008 SF in straights
Fed wins USO 2008 SF in 4. (6-2 in the 4th)
Fed wins USO 2009 SF in straights
Djokovic wins USO 2010 SF in 5. High marks for tension and drama, but really below average quality overall
Djokovic wins AO 2011 SF in straights
Fed wins RG 2011 SF in 4. Fantastic match. 2nd best of their rivalry only behind the Wimbledon 2014 final, but better quality wise from both players.
Djokovic USO 2011 SF in 5. 3rd best match of the rivalry.
Djokovic wins RG 2012 SF in straights. Federer's struggles here were a sign of things to come on clay
Fed wins Wimbledon 2012 SF in 4. Pretty good match. Had its high points, but shouldn't be overrated either
Djokovic wins Wimbledon 2014 final in 5. As mentioned before, the best match of their rivalry
Djokovic wins Wimbledon 2015 final in 4 sets. High level from the Djoker. Not high enough from Fed. Doesn't make for an epic.
Djokovic wins USO 2015 Final in 4. Djoker really solid. Too many errors from Fed. Again, not really an epic.
Djokovic wins AO 2016 SF in 4 sets. Incredible first 2 sets from the Djoker. All in all the result was NID.

Not enough great matches in majors and major finals to make the best rivalry of all time. Or at least not as many as Federer vs Nadal at any rate. You only need to mention the Wimbledon 2008 or AO 2009 finals and everybody will remember where they were when they happened. The Rome 2006 final has its place too. As does the Wimbledon 2007 final. Even this latest one is going down in history as one of the defining matches of this era unlike anything Federer and Djokovic ever produced tbh. Maybe you could say something about the Wimbledon 2014 final, but that's about it.

Federer and Nadal simply have contrasting styles like no other pair of rivals, and the timing of the Fedal rivalry is what made it special. The fact that Nadal was a teenage prodigy who broke through in 2005 so that the Fedal primes overlapped somewhat is huge and is the major difference between the rivalries in my mind. Djokovic in contrast didn't seriously challenge in the slams until 2011 after Federer had already won 16 slams.

This is not to ignore the other rivalries, and tbh I'd probably pick Navratilova vs Evert if I didn't appreciate the BO5 format at the slams for the men as much as I do. As it stands right now, my vote is biased, but it goes to Federer vs Nadal, and pretty easily as well.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
It's not Djokovic vs Federer. They have too big a gap between their first and second slam finals. They've played a lot of semis due to seeding, but you need final matches to elevate the rivalry to the next level. You also need the semis to be competitive, preferably 5 setters, but many of them haven't been.

Fed wins AO 2007 RD of 16 in 3. Djokovic too young here to draw any serious conclusions
Fed wins USO 2007 Final in straights. Could've been closer, but at the end of the day still only 3 sets.
Djokovic wins AO 2008 SF in straights
Fed wins USO 2008 SF in 4. (6-2 in the 4th)
Fed wins USO 2009 SF in straights
Djokovic wins USO 2010 SF in 5. High marks for tension and drama, but really below average quality overall
Djokovic wins AO 2011 SF in straights
Fed wins RG 2011 SF in 4. Fantastic match. 2nd best of their rivalry only behind the Wimbledon 2014 final, but better quality wise from both players.
Djokovic USO 2011 SF in 5. 3rd best match of the rivalry.
Djokovic wins RG 2012 SF in straights. Federer's struggles here were a sign of things to come on clay
Fed wins Wimbledon 2012 SF in 4. Pretty good match. Had its high points, but shouldn't be overrated either
Djokovic wins Wimbledon 2014 final in 5. As mentioned before, the best match of their rivalry
Djokovic wins Wimbledon 2015 final in 4 sets. High level from the Djoker. Not high enough from Fed. Doesn't make for an epic.
Djokovic wins USO 2015 Final in 4. Djoker really solid. Too many errors from Fed. Again, not really an epic.
Djokovic wins AO 2016 SF in 4 sets. Incredible first 2 sets from the Djoker. All in all the result was NID.

Not enough great matches in majors and major finals to make the best rivalry of all time. Or at least not as many as Federer vs Nadal at any rate. You only need to mention the Wimbledon 2008 or AO 2009 finals and everybody will remember where they were when they happened. The Rome 2006 final has its place too. As does the Wimbledon 2007 final. Even this latest one is going down in history as one of the defining matches of this era unlike anything Federer and Djokovic ever produced tbh. Maybe you could say something about the Wimbledon 2014 final, but that's about it.

Federer and Nadal simply have contrasting styles like no other pair of rivals, and the timing of the Fedal rivalry is what made it special. The fact that Nadal was a teenage prodigy who broke through in 2005 so that the Fedal primes overlapped somewhat is huge and is the major difference between the rivalries in my mind. Djokovic in contrast didn't seriously challenge in the slams until 2011 after Federer had already won 16 slams.

This is not to ignore the other rivalries, and tbh I'd probably pick Navratilova vs Evert if I didn't appreciate the BO5 format at the slams for the men as much as I do. As it stands right now, my vote is biased, but it goes to Federer vs Nadal, and pretty easily as well.
Rg 11 the best match of their rivalry, not wim 14 ..Fed's ground game was lacking far too much for wim 14 to be their best match.

Fed-djoko is IMO better in terms of evenness of stroke play/competitiveness. But fedal clearly have had more epic+quality wise better top matches and clearly far more anticipated/celebrated.
 
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It's not entirely bad. Outside of clay where Nadal would have beaten pretty much anybody, it's 10-10, with 4-3 in GS for Rafa and 3-2 for Fed in GS finals.
It's a bit skewed H2H overall but still I wouldn't give Fedal the vote for the greatest rivalry. They had three or four all time great matches but still it's overhyped in general.
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
Well then we take away 2015 as well no?
19-11 is still meh
But for me the match-up issue mainly plays a role on clay. The other matches are just even.
Nah, you can't take away the only time Fed feasted on a weaker Rafa. Take away IW 2013 and Rome 2013.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
I said best , not 2nd best. Edited my post btw to include more things.
I intentionally misread your post. A four set RG SF, no matter how good, does not beat out a 5 set Wimbledon final IMO. Unless maybe all the sets in the Wimbledon final absolutely suck, but in this case all 5 of them were passable enough.
 

90's Clay

Banned
Rafa/Nole is the best of the modern era. Nadal/Fed was too lopsided in Nadal's favor and it takes Nadal to barely not being able to stand, and an extra day's rest and lose ALL his FH weapons for Fed to beat him. Fed/Nole isn't much of a rivalry considering Fed was already on like slam #11 or something by the time Nole even won his first slam
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
I intentionally misread your post. A four set RG SF, no matter how good, does not beat out a 5 set Wimbledon final IMO. Unless maybe all the sets in the Wimbledon final absolutely suck, but in this case all 5 of them were passable enough.
Better is about quality. In that regard, RG 11 >> wim 14 final. Even with 4 sets, its still better.

Was wim 14 the greater match due to the stakes involved ? Yep, but not the better match.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Better is about quality. In that regard, RG 11 >> wim 14 final. Even with 4 sets, its still better.

Was wim 14 the greater match due to the stakes involved ? Yep, but not the better match.
Better is about a combination of factors. Drama factors into that more than quality in some (dare I say most) cases. Hence why the Wimbledon 2008 final is so highly regarded for example.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Well Nadal had to face Federer several times before he hit prime. Just because he happened to win most of those matches doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted as being conveniently times.. but Federer couldn't take advantage.
Federer only lost 2 matches to Nadal outside of clay until 2008 Wimbledon.
3 matches until 2009 AO.
4 matches until 2011 Miami.

I can't really see where Federer really should've taken advantage. Even if he won all the matches on HC/grass during the time he would still be like 15-20 behind in the h2h. The problem was Nadal not getting to Federer than Federer losing to him outside of clay.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Better is about a combination of factors. Drama factors into that more than quality in some (dare I say most) cases. Hence why the Wimbledon 2008 final is so highly regarded for example.
That is about greatness. Wimbledon 2008 is heralded as the greatest match of all time, not necessarily the best match of all time.

AO 2005 SF, AO 2009 SF, Wimbledon 2007 F were better matches for instance.
 

augustobt

Legend
It's not even a contest. I know that everyone is entitled to have its own opinion, but as you see, pretty much everyone that says things like "Nadal vs Djokovic" or "Djokovic vs Federer" started watching tennis post-2010. Chill and accept that Djokovic it's the third guy of the generation.

I remember that after that Miami 2004 match, everyone (EVERYONE) expected Federer and Nadal to clash again. And they did in Miami 2005 in such an epic way, then everyone expected them to meet in a major and so on. The expectation of Wimbledon 2007 and then 2008 finals were outrageous, more than every match I've ever seen until the 2017 AO final.

Seriously, these guys just filled up TWO stadium courts in the same complex last sunday!
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
That is about greatness. Wimbledon 2008 is heralded as the greatest match of all time, not necessarily the best match of all time.

AO 2005 SF, AO 2009 SF, Wimbledon 2007 F were better matches for instance.
But which match is going to top the Fedal list? The majority will pick Wimbledon 2008. That's my point. They're not picking Rome 2006 or even AO 2009 just because they might be higher quality. Some will, but certainly not a majority. In the same way, I believe the majority would rank the 2014 Wimbledon final over the 2011 RG SF on a list of the best/greatest Federer-Djokovic matches.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Rg 11 the best match of their rivalry, not wim 14 ..Fed's ground game was lacking far too much for wim 14 to be their best match.

Fed-djoko is IMO better in terms of evenness of stroke play/competitiveness. But fedal clearly have had more epic+quality wise better top matches and clearly far more anticipated/celebrated.
But which match is going to top the Fedal list? The majority will pick Wimbledon 2008. That's my point. They're not picking Rome 2006 or even AO 2009 just because they might be higher quality. Some will, but certainly not a majority. In the same way, I believe the majority would rank the 2014 Wimbledon final over the 2011 RG SF on a list of the best/greatest Federer-Djokovic matches.
In list of greatest matches, yes. Best matches , disagree. I'm just pointing out the difference b/W the 2.

And yes, agreed, no match is going to top fedal list either quality wise or greatness wise ..As I already agreed above.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
In list of greatest matches, yes. Best matches , disagree. I'm just pointing out the difference b/W the 2.

And yes, agreed, no match is going to top fedal list either quality wise or greatness wise ..As I already agreed above.
In my mind there is negligible difference between best and greatest. Obviously we disagree, but that's ok. We can stop here.
 

TheMaestro1990

Hall of Fame
It's not even a contest. I know that everyone is entitled to have its own opinion, but as you see, pretty much everyone that says things like "Nadal vs Djokovic" or "Djokovic vs Federer" started watching tennis post-2010. Chill and accept that Djokovic it's the third guy of the generation.

I remember that after that Miami 2004 match, everyone (EVERYONE) expected Federer and Nadal to clash again. And they did in Miami 2005 in such an epic way, then everyone expected them to meet in a major and so on. The expectation of Wimbledon 2007 and then 2008 finals were outrageous, more than every match I've ever seen until the 2017 AO final.

Seriously, these guys just filled up TWO stadium courts in the same complex last sunday!
 

TheMusicLover

G.O.A.T.
Best of all times: Navratilova - Evert

Best among ATP: Fedal, and it isn't even close.

The one thing both these rivalries have in common: mutual respect and friendliness. :)
 
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