A Fedal essay. Sort of.




A tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. Usually a Grand Slam or Masters Series final. (source: urban dictionary)

Under the word “Fedal” in wikipiedia you will find the article “Federer-Nadal rivalry” x.

That’s official. What urban dictionary or wikipedia don’t mention, it is also a bromance between these two (or like some like it “romance”).


First of all, on court Rafa leads 23-11. Most of matches have been on clay and obviously Rafa dominates on clay so naturally H2H is in Rafa’s favour. But Rafa has expressed through years his opinion on Roger. In Rafa’s words:
“If somebody says I am better than Roger, I think this person don’t know nothing about tennis.”

The point is the big tennis rivalries have always been seeded with anger and hate. Look at McEnroe vs. Connors or Sampras vs. Agassi. And this is how the journalists saw Federer vs. Nadal, and how they tried to depict for a while.

But it’s actually different. The relations have changed through years, that’s certain.

Now they both have contract with NIKE, and that definitely was pushed for a friendly rivalry. Both players have a lot of respect to each other:

“I knew from the start that Nadal would become better than me” Roger x

“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, when asked what he would write about Federer’s decline if he were a journalist

there’s lots more. just google it.

Roger is married and has 4 children, Rafa is in a long time relationship with Maria Francisca Perello. Although around 2006 there were many rumours in press whether they’re gay, gawker was very adamant about it at some point. If it’s true, it’s rather unfair to anyone to be outed.

There are many Roger’s fans who hate Rafa. They are the evil kind. They see Rafa as the one who prevented Roger from being the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT), they think Rafa’s game is too defensive, not as eloquent as Roger’s (yes, you can be eloquent on court, watch Roger playing ffs). They think Rafa pretends only to like Roger and it’s his false modesty speaking every time he praises him, and he does that only to be liked by the press. Listen, you don’t have to ship them. You don’t have to like Rafa. But some Federer fans are evil.

Of course it wasn’t just just love and fluff between these two, we also had a small earthquake, when there was a big issue on the Players council. Newspapers called ‘End of bromance’, fans cried and shouted at each other. 2012 was a difficult year. x

Now we’re back on good, but it’s mostly small matches, charity events or promotionals. Milking cow until they can? I don’t think so.

Tennis-wise now Novak Djokovic dominates tennis. Both Rafa and Roger are getting older. Roger’s last Grand Slam was won in Wimbledon 2012. Rafa struggles not only to beat Novak, but also to keep injury-free.


Okay, let’s put it like this. You either ship it or not. In my experience I learned to enjoy small things, I don’t expect any big announcement to be made in the near future.

But why do people ship Fedal?

Is it the way they stare at each other?

Is it the way they hug at the net?

Is it the way they make each other laugh?

The way they enjoy spending time together?

The way they both care about the sport and doing all the promos?

Sharing clothes?

Blushing in each other’s presence?

I just can’t say.

Sport-wise AND relationship-wise Fedal fans often consider Djokovic as a threat. Some Djokovic try to make Fedole happen, as in Romance between Rafa and Novak. Stop trying to make Fedole happen. It’s not going to happen.

Another thing is the urban dictionary explanation of Fedal, especially the bit on GS/Masters final. Now it’s in the past unfortunatelly and we kinda all miss the glory days, don’t we?

Roger had remained unchallenged for a long time, until Rafa came along – and since then they have produced the most beautiful finals, with high quality tennis ( two best forehands of all time) and contrast of style. They have played in all slam finals except the US Open. One of the finals they played, the 2008 Wimbledon, is known as the greatest match of all time.

There is a film about Mcenroe and Borg being made at the moment. Shia LaBeouf plays John Mcenroe and here’s what he said about the rivalry –

“These are extraordinary men in an extraordinary situation under a tremendous amount of pressure who had found a way to create a little hold on that court. There’s 30,00 people in the stands, millions watching and there are two dudes. There is something really, romantic. You don’t often see masculine love portrayed honestly. These two men had a whole lot of stuff going on.”

If anything romantic can be suggested at the Borg/Mcenroe rivalry, Fedal is even more so. Wnenever they play, they are asking for the world’s full attention by displaying magic with their rackets, passion for the sport, and thirst for victory. On court, they are required to know each other inside out – to predict each other’s next move, as if they were lovers; they torture each other until emotions are laid bare to be seen. But they always find their way to each other because no one else is up there with them.

They have been through so much, from epic five set matches to sponsor activities and playing for each other’s foundation. Their careers are inseparable – togther they have created each other’s careers.

Roger is the one who came to shatter all records, to conquer the tennis world – Rafa is the one destined to match Roger and to challenge him. Together they have made each other better. Off court, Roger is sophisticated and confident, Rafa is shy; on court, Rafa transforms to a warrior that never gives up; Roger channels all his emotions into his play, which he lets out when the last point is played. Tennis has never before known such display of passion, and will never know after Fedal.

For the many new Fedal fans after the Laver Cup ❤