Tennis fans rejoice. For the first time since October 2017, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will face each other in an official singles match on Friday, hopefully adding another chapter to what many already consider one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.
In their first Grand Slam duel since January 2017 and their first encounter on clay in more than six years, Rafal Nadal is the heavy favorite, playing on his favorite surface at his favorite tournament, which he won a record 11 times in the past 14 years. Federer on the other hand has nothing to lose. The Swiss maestro had skipped the clay court season altogether for the past few years and his run into the semi-finals will already be considered a successful return to the red dirt.
Looking at the head-to-head record between the two confirms Nadal’s status as the favorite going into tomorrow’s match: leading 23 to 15 overall and 9 to 3 at Grand Slam tournaments, Nadal only lost twice to Federer on clay and never at the French Open. Federer will draw confidence from the pair’s past five encounters, which he all won, albeit on hard courts, a surface that suits him better than clay.