Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, we have the’mastered’ version, for posterity’s sake.
In the past few weeks, the man who has been nicknamed “the Prince of Clay” by the tennis world, and the Spaniard who has been dubbed “God’s Gift to Tennis” by the press, have been at their best. Nadal, a master of the slice and the hard-punch winners, has shown himself to be an aggressive, unrelenting opponent, always ready to challenge Roger Federer. The top tennis star on the tour, Federer, a world number one who has won a record-breaking 23 Grand Slams, has returned to his dominating self, showing no sign of losing his edge and his nerve. The tennis world has never seen tennis so exhilarating and unpredictable as it is right now.
Now let’s get back to the moment that captured this rare, rare, moment as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played to a 5-set win in the final of the Australian Open on Sunday.
It was a match of epic proportions that saw Nadal coming out aggressively on serve and forcing Federer to hit his first back-hand into the net in the opening point. And then, after going off, Nadal was on fire, finding his range and serving at will. He was rewarded for that with his first point of the match when Federer had to call a tactical game to get the match back on track. Nadal then went on to take his first set with the help of a Nadal error when Federer appeared to have a break point in the third game.
Rafael Nadal hits his first serve against Roger Federer during their match to win the Australian Open on Sunday. (Photo by Adam Pretty/USA TODAY)
Federer had a chance to take the third set as well as the match. However, a Nadal error and a Federer point in the fifth game kept the match going. After saving two match points, Federer hit a forehand winner