8 times Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal proved they're the tennis best friends we don't deserve.



Eleven years after Rafael Nadal’s historic Wimbledon win against Roger Federer in 2008 – a victory on nearly every short list of tennis’s greatest matches – the pair will renew rivalries tonight.

It will be the second time in five weeks the tennis greats will face off, and it’s set to be another history-making match.

Federer and Nadal at Wimbledon in 2008. Image: Getty.

Friday’s match will be the 40th meeting in total for Federer and Nadal, with matches between the two never failing to capture the world's attention.

But it's not just their incredible talent as players – and chemistry as rivals – that makes them so watchable. It's their undeniable connection as mates that we can't get enough of.


Watch Australian player Ash Barty's fourth round Wimbledon press conference below. Post continues after video.

The Swiss and Spanish legends of the game share a bond unlike any other in the sport. While they have always had a healthy respect for each other as sportsmen, it seems to have transcended the sport and into a genuine friendship.

And as two of the top three players in the world, they've set a standard many young players should aspire to.

Need proof?

Here are the top eight Federer and Nadal moments in tennis history:

1. The time Federer gushed over Nadal at the 2017 Australian Open.

“I just think he's an incredible tennis player,” Federer told media.

“He's got shots that no other one has. When you have that, you are unique and special. Plus he's got the grit. He's got the mental and physical ability to sustain a super high level of play for years and for hours and for weeks. He's proven that time and time again. He's come back from many injuries time and time again. He made it seem easy, and it's not. I think he's been tremendous for the game. I have a lot of respect for him on many levels.”

2. When Nadal said that despite the language barrier, he has a strong bond with Federer.

While the two are from opposite ends of Europe – Nadal from Spain, and Federer from Switzerland – their mother tongue is no barrier when it comes to their friendship.


“For me, language is a barrier to establishing a bond as strong as a friendship, for example, with Roger Federer," Nadal said.

“We have that, the rivalry and that our habits of life are very different.

“I would say that I do not have friends, but very good companions.”

3. When Federer said he wished he could share his Australian Open trophy with Nadal.

“There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been happy to share this trophy with Rafa tonight,” Federer said after the 2017 match.

Aww. STOP.

4. When Federer said Nadal "makes him a better player".

We all need friends that make us the best we can be. And it seems for Nadal and Federer, they offer each other just that.

In 2017, Federer said:

“I think he's definitely one of the guys that make me a better player. I don't want to thank him for that, but he made me maybe rework my game and go back to the practice courts and think about what I could change. I think for that, I'm happy about the losses I took,” Federer told media at the 2017 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Roger Federer after defeating him for semi-finals in the Roland Garros French Open, 2005. Image: Getty.

5. The fact that they've spent time together off the court.

Not only do they seem to get along like a house on fire on court, they carry their bond throughout their professional lives sans sweat bands. And we can't get enough of it.

“We’re good friends off the court, because we have shared special moments away from it,” Federer said in 2018 after picking up the Laureus Award for Sportsman of the Year.

At a conference in New York City in 2013, they sat next to each other and couldn't stop laughing. Image: Getty.

“Perhaps, because of charity games for his foundation and his matches for my foundation,” he continued

“I helped him open his academy and obviously there are all the matches we have played against one another which connect you.

“When you lose against a guy in the fifth set or beat a guy in the fifth, there’s something special there.

“We enjoy each other's company and fans know that too.”

6. They genuinely enjoy playing against each other.

We're not the only ones who look forward to seeing them play against each other, it seems.

“When you go on court against Roger… I go on court knowing that I am playing against a player that is unbelievable,” Nadal said.

“What happened in the past probably will not help me. I take every match like a different history and every day is different,” Nadal said at the 2014 Australian Open

And in 2017, he reflected the same sentiment:

“It’s the combination of two different styles that makes the matches really special. Both of us have a different way to play tennis [and have] a lot of good success with these two different styles. I feel that this rivalry goes not only in the tennis world. People from outside of our world talk about it and that's good for our sport.”

But who could forget the most incredible Federer and Nadal moment;

7. The time they fell into fits of giggles while filming a promotional video in 2010.