Rafael Nadal says he and Roger Federer have a good relationship, although he stress they are ‘not close friends.’
In their younger days, Nadal and Federer shared one of the most fierce rivalries that any sport, not just tennis, has seen.
That has certainly mellowed in recent years though, and they have appeared to be very close at times in recent years.
Nadal, though, says it isn’t quite at that level, but it is certainly better than it was before.
“We are very good companions and as the time went on, our relationship improved,” Nadal told Vision de Juego.
“We are not close friends, I would not tell him that my knee hurts before facing him.
“We can call each other anytime and speak about anything. I spoke with him just today.”
Federer also recently spoke of this relationship with Nadal, although he sounded a lot more willing to share his secrets.
“I saw him grow, right in front of my eyes. He’s one of the guys from tennis – players – that I could call up and, if I told him something, it would be a secret between the two of us,” Federer said earlier this month.
“And I appreciate that we were able to build a relationship like that.”
Both Nadal and Federer are skipping the Miami Masters to prepare for clay season instead, and the Spaniard is happy to concede that tournaments on his favoured surface are always his main priority.
“I want to be competitive and well-prepared heading into Monte Carlo and the whole clay-court swing which is the most important time of the year for me. I am working very hard for that.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?