Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, and the long, tumultuous rivalry that has shaped the lives of both men, there’s a lot of history.
From 1987 to 2010, Federer and Nadal were inextricably linked. As World No. 1 in 2008, they were on opposite sides of three major tournaments in one of the best years of their lives.
In December 2011, at Wimbledon, after a year-long retirement, Federer finally triumphed in his final major encounter, beating Nadal 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court.
But that victory proved to be a false dawn for Federer and his long-time partner in the red. They fell out after that tournament, and not much was heard from them until 2013, on the eve of what was to be Federer’s first major final.
A year later, Federer arrived at the US Open – back at the top of his game – with his first major win after a decade without a title. Nadal returned home the following July, still the No 1-ranked player in the world and holding his serve in the final against the Swiss, but this time the champion was not going to be able to break Federer.
With the scores level at 2-2 in the fourth set, Federer broke for a 4-2 lead. But that was his only chance.
The world No 1 raced out to a 3-0 deficit in the fifth set, but Nadal fought back to level the score at 3-3, and then again to 2-3.
Then it turned bleak for the Spaniard.
The next day, Federer won the US Open.
Roger Federer played a total of 28 matches during his time with Nadal, winning six and losing seven.
Federer said it was difficult to understand why he was always being booed as he played his second match at the event.