RAFAEL NADAL revealed his ongoing rivalry with fellow tennis legend Roger Federer stays on the court – because they are good friends off it.
The pair – often referred to collectively as 'Fedal' – are the two most-successful male tennis players of all time with a combined 42 Grand Slam singles titles.
But with their careers intertwined since Nadal burst onto the scene in 2004, the Spaniard revealed they get on really well after sharing the limelight for so many years.
He said: "It’s a rivalry, of course, but it’s also a friendship.
"We’re having a great story together. We have had long careers.
"Facing each other in the most important tournaments for such a very, very long time.
"Creating positive things for charity, playing in special events like we did in Cape Town in South Africa like we did a few weeks ago."
Federer won the first meeting between the pair – a 6-3 6-3 win at the Miami Open in 2004 – and did the same when they initially faced off at a Grand Slam.
RIVALRY FOR THE AGES
In total, Fed has played nine Grand Slam finals with Nadal, 33, winning five – although Federer did win their most-recent major final meeting in Australia in 2017.
At Wimbledon in 2008, with Federer looking to complete a hat-trick of SW19 final victories over Nadal, the Spaniard finally got his revenge, winning 9-7 in the fifth set in what is widely regarded as the greatest tennis match of all time.
They met twice in 2019 – at the French Open and at Wimbledon – with the Swiss superstar claiming their most-recent clash with a dominant win on Centre Court.
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Since then, though, Federer and Nadal, with a combined age of 81, teamed up to help Europe beat the Rest of World in the Laver Cup.
And in February 2020, the iconic figures of the sport headed to Cape Town together to play in the Match For Africa.
As well as having a record 51,954 fans in attendance as they took to the court with Bill Gates, Rugby World Cup hero Siya Kolisi and comedian Trevor Noah, they raised a whopping £2.7million for charity.
Nadal was going for a record 23rd Grand Slam title at this year's Wimbledon, but was forced to pull out through injury.
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