Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, is a far more sultry photo of the pair in the locker room, where they meet, bond and argue. The photo was taken by photographer Roberto Gatto.
It was a time for the two world number ones to celebrate the victories they had on the tennis courts. It was the final of the Australian Open (Jan. 28-30), the French Open (June 2-4) and the ATP Masters (June 16-18).
But they bonded in the middle to argue and debate.
At one point Federer said in the French locker room, the players are all “dope” and they have to “stop it”.
“It’s about my playing the game and I can’t do it when I go through that every night,” Federer said.
That night, Federer did not sleep well and he returned to his hotel room and lay awake long into the night.
“To go through the emotions of winning a tournament like this against Nadal on the back nine was incredible and I want to go through that every night,” Federer said.
Nadal, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, had more than enough support against Federer at the Australian Open.
But Nadal’s confidence level after a major title in his own sport was already as high as Federer’s at the start of a tournament.
With Nadal having one less match remaining at the Australian Open, the first-round match at 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, he was in a better place mentally.
He was not only up a set and a break, and he had two breaks saved.
Nadal saved one break to reach the third and final set. But Nadal, who was in a position to serve for the match, was unable to return it. The outcome was decided by a Federer double fault.
Federer played superbly in the third set and led 3-1 in the fourth set. At 4-5, 7-