By the numbers: Federer vs. Nadal, the greatest rivalry in tennis

Roger Federer, left and Rafael Nadal greet each other in 2015. (Tsering Topgyal/AP)

This year’s Australian Open has an air of nostalgia to it. Sure, we all get older and someday we’ll die, but age apparently isn’t what it used to be: just take a look at the matchups in this year’s finals.

The women’s singles final pits Serena Williams, 35, against sister Venus, 36. And somehow, because the tennis gods were feeling generous, the men’s final will feature the greatest rivalry in tennis: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal.

Federer, like Serena, is already 35. Last year, after missing tournaments and dealing with a knee injury, he dropped out of the ATP Top 10 for the first time in more than 14 years.

On Friday, Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal. “I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought I’d come this far in Australia,” he said after the win. “It’s beautiful. I’m so happy.”

The second semifinal lasted a brutal four hours and 56 minutes, but Nadal, 30, managed to overcome Gregor Dimitrov (6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4). The first words out of Nadal’s mouth after that epic win? “I am very tired.” That’s a sentiment likely to be echoed by North American audiences who choose to stay up—or wake up—for what will be an epic “Fedal” showdown, which airs Sunday morning at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT.

Federer vs. Nadal

In all, Federer and Nadal have faced off 34 times in singles competition, and it’s Nadal who holds the lead in this legendary rivalry, with 23 wins and 11 losses.

Year Tournament Name Surface Round Winner Score
2004 Miami Hard Round of 32 Nadal 6–3, 6–3
2005 Miami Hard Final Federer 2–6, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 6–1
2005 Roland Garros Clay Semi-final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3
2006 Dubai Hard Final Nadal 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
2006 Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6–2, 6–7(2–7), 6–3, 7–6(7–5)
2006 Rome Clay Final Nadal 6–7(0–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)
2006 Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)
2006 Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3
2006 Tennis Masters Cup Hard Semi-final Federer 6–4, 7–5
2007 Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4
2007 Hamburg Clay Final Federer 2–6, 6–2, 6–0
2007 Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4
2007 Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–2
2007 Tennis Masters Cup Hard Semi-final Federer 6–4, 6–1
2008 Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 7–5
2008 Hamburg Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 6–7(3–7), 6–3
2008 Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 6–1, 6–3, 6–0
2008 Wimbledon Grass Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7
2009 Australian Open Hard Final Nadal 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2
2009 Madrid Clay Final Federer 6–4, 6–4
2010 Madrid Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 7–6(7–5)
2010 ATP World Tour Finals Hard Final Federer 6–3, 3–6, 6–1
2011 Miami Hard Semi-final Nadal 6–3, 6–2
2011 Madrid Clay Semi-final Nadal 5–7, 6–1, 6–3
2011 Roland Garros Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1
2011 ATP World Tour Finals Hard Round Robin Federer 6–3, 6–0
2012 Australian Open Hard Semi-final Nadal 6–7(5–7), 6–2, 7–6(7–5), 6–4
2012 Indian Wells Hard Semi-final Federer 6–3, 6–4
2013 Indian Wells Hard Quarter-final Nadal 6–4, 6–2
2013 Rome Clay Final Nadal 6–1, 6–3
2013 Cincinnati Hard Quarter-final Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–3
2013 ATP World Tour Finals Hard Semi-final Nadal 7–5, 6–3
2014 Australian Open Hard Semi-final Nadal 7–6(7–4), 6–3, 6–3
2015 Basel Hard Final Federer 6–3, 5–7, 6–3

While Nadal holds the lead in the Fedal rivalry, Federer has won 17 major singles titles. Nadal, on the other hand, has won 14.

Year-end ATP rankings

Over the years, both Federer and Nadal have spent time atop the ATP rankings. Federer hasn’t ended the year as No. 1 in the world since 2009, while Nadal last did so in 2010. Currently, Federer sits 17th, while Nadal is ranked ninth. Here’s a look at their year-end ATP rankings over the course of their careers.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal
1998 301
1999 64
2000 29
2001 13 811
2002 6 200
2003 2 49
2004 1 51
2005 1 2
2006 1 2
2007 1 2
2008 2 1
2009 1 2
2010 2 1
2011 3 2
2012 2 4
2013 6 1
2014 2 3
2015 3 5
2016 16 9

Whatever happens on Sunday, the Fedal showdown is sure to be must-watch TV. As Nadal said of the impending matchup with Federer: “I’m very happy for me and very happy for him, because we are going to be in a very nice moment.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.