Rafael Nadal Regards Roger Federer As One Of The Best Players On Clay

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IN PHOTO: Mar 18, 2015; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts after defeating Gilles Simon (FRA) in the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nadal won 6-2, 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There is one more player who can be considered as one of the best players on clay in the history of tennis, according to claycourt king Rafael Nadal. The Spanish left-hander believes that rival Roger Federer has done amazingly enough in the French Open tournaments to be regarded as a great player on clay.

Following Nadal’s victory against Dutchman Igor Sijsling, 6-4 6-2, in his Indian Wells opener, Nadal was asked about his opinion on Federer’s claycourt skills and how the 17-time Swiss grand slam champion would do in a match against the great Bjorn Borg, who was once hailed as the “King of Clay.” Bjorn has won six French Open titles at the age of 25 while Nadal has nine. Borg has won four consecutive French Open titles from 1978 to 1981. Nadal, too, had four straight wins at the French Open from 2005 to 2008 and had five consecutive winning streaks from 2010 until 2014. Federer, on the other hand, has only won the French Open title once in 2009.

Nadal hinted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare players from previous generations to the recent ones because Borg and Federer have done great things in their respective careers. He said that Borg and Federer are amazing champions.

“He's (Federer) a fantastic player, claycourt player,” Nadal said. “You know, a player who was able to play 2006, 2007, 2008, finals, then winning 2009, and then playing the final again 2011, semifinals 2005, you know, I don't see a lot of players that have been in all that final rounds of French Open in a row, so that says that Roger is one of the best claycourt players of the history probably.”

Federer’s Claycourt Legacy

Many claim that Federer has a harsh relationship with clay courts. All throughout the Swiss’ career, he has only won 10 titles on clay, the fewest record he has in all three surfaces. Federer has a winning percentage of 76.2 on clay courts compared with Nadal’s 92.9.

Federer’ performance on clay courts is only a tiny blemish on his famous tennis career. The Swiss’ supremacy on hard courts with 58 titles and grass courts with 14 titles could easily put his clay court results in the shade.

This year, Federer will have a busy clay season. It was initially announced in February that he will be playing at the Monte Carlo Open, Madrid Open, Rome Open and the inaugural Istanbul Open as his lead-up tournaments for the 2015 French Open.

Meanwhile, both Nadal and Federer are through to the quarterfinals round of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Nadal, a three-time champion, defeated Gilles Simon in straight sets, 6-2 6-4, to reach the last eight, while Federer secured his quarterfinals berth after beating 22-year-old Jack Sock 6-3 6-2 in the fourth round.

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