“No way I would be a journalist. You guys have tried to kill Roger often. But he’s always come back and proved you wrong. So one thing I would not do is make the mistake of saying Roger is dead.“ - Rafael Nadal
"I’ve done and lived the most with him. From five-set matches on court, to promoting a tournament in Qatar, to doing foundation work together. And I’ve gone to dinners with him. I know his family the best, as well. I know his mum, dad and sister. Yeah, our bond goes further back than the one I have with Novak or Andy. And for that reason I feel closest and most connected to Rafa.” - Roger Federer
Toni was tough on me right from the start, tougher than on the other children. He demanded a lot of me, pressured me hard. He’d use rough language, shout a lot, he’d frighten me — especially when the other boys didn’t turn up and it was just the two of us. If I saw I’d be alone with him when I arrived for training, I’d get a sinking feeling in my stomach.
In many respects Nadal and Federer are unlikely soul-mates. Nadal enjoys a simple life and simple pleasures. He has lived all his life in the unpretentious town of Manacor on the island of Majorca. Away from tennis he loves nothing more than to be back home with his family and friends, playing golf and fishing.
Federer, in contrast, is suave and sophisticated. He was named GQ’s “Most Stylish Man” of 2016, despite the fact that he spent half the year out of the limelight because of injury. Fluent in German, French and English, he is comfortable in any company. When the Queen visited Wimbledon it was no surprise when Federer was invited to sit next to her at lunch.
For his part, Nadal has a habit of placing his hand on an opponent’s mid-section during the time normally allotted for a cursory handshake. When exactly did mock belly-rubbing become the norm? Did Federer spontaneously morph into a poor man’s Buddha at some point? Who knows. Maybe the Mighty Morphin’ Buddha Man inspired him, because Federer has also spent a disturbing amount of time with his hands on Nadal’s abdomen. I mean, seriously now. This is how you end a brutal five hour match? By giving each other a rub down in front of thousands of people? There’s just a point where gentlemanly behaviour veers wildly into the bizarre. Call me crazy, but I don’t think they need to feel each other up to be polite.
A Complaint from 2009 about the Federer/Nadal rivalry
I’m not a fan of Real Madrid, but I am astounded that within one month, they went from applauding Cristiano like crazy to jeering him. That’s something that leaves me in awe. In one month he is the best in the world and in the next … people have short memories and little consideration.
Obviously that can also happen to Rafa. It wouldn’t surprise me. If that happens to Cristiano, in front of his own crowd, on the Madrid pitch, how could I be surprised?
- Toni Nadal, comparing Rafael Nadal’s situation with Cristiano’s