Indian badminton player PV Sindhu said that the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is the greatest, “not only in tennis but also globally”.
“I believe both Roger and Rafael are legends in their own way and definitely love to see both of them play. I can’t just choose one from the other but I think each of them has a different style of play and different game so I would say, both are legends. I think it’s the greatest rivalry not only in tennis but also globally because they are true champions and they have always inspired us in many ways and I would say it is always a treat for us to watch them play,” said Sindhu while speaking to Discovery Plus which is offering “Strokes of Genius” – a 90-minute sports documentary based on the book ‘Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Match Ever Played’ by L. Jon Wertheim.
Sindhu said that both tennis stars’ clash in 2004 inspired her a lot. “I was really young then in 2004 in Miami when Nadal won against the then no. 1 Federer. When I saw that it inspired me a lot. So, the closest of that for me would be when I won against the Olympic champion Li Xuerui in China Masters in 2012. So yeah, that was the closest for me,” she said.
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza who has been a teammate for the legends in the past at IPTL (International Premier Tennis League) also talked about the pure nature of this legendary rivalry.
“The way they talk about each other on and off the camera is pretty incredible and I’ve seen that being a part of IPTL where I was on Rafael’s team and I was on the same team as Roger in the following or the year before that. They speak so highly about each other. On the courts, of course, everybody knows that they’ve had some incredible matches and have some incredible history, but I think off the court are the moments that make them very special. The respect they have for each other and when they play you can see that there is so much respect and mutual admiration for each other as well. They bring so much to the game and such different things that our sport really needs both of them,” she said.
Sania also looked back at some of the rivalries she cherished the most on her road to becoming a six-time grand slam winner.
“There are some rivalries that are iconic. But I think during my singles career there was a girl from Russia called Anna Chakvetadze. She was top 10 in the world, I think close to top 5. We played a lot against each other since the juniors. She definitely helped me become better because initially I was not able to beat her and I felt that she was someone, she had a very unconventional game and I feel that… we played so much against each other. When Martina and I were playing, I think our biggest rival at that time were probably Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova. We won the Wimbledon finals against them as well. We played a lot against each other. Also, there was Babos – Mladenovic at the time who we played a lot against and Mladenovic and Garcia, they were probably our biggest rivals,” she said.