Mats Wilander says that, although Rafael Nadal considers Roger Federer his greatest rival, Novak Djokovic is his toughest opponent.
Nadal was asked about Federer being missing from Wimbledon for the first time this century following his third round win over Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.
He explained that he 'personally' missed Federer and still regards him as his greatest rival, despite him playing more matches against Djokovic.
Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander has wondered if Nadal enjoyed his matches more against Federer because he felt he could beat him.
“He (Nadal) was the first one to really challenge Roger and they had this amazing rivalry for a few years," Wilander said.
“Then of course Novak Djokovic came along, but Novak has probably been Nadal’s more difficult opponent
“And, talking from personal experience, a rivalry is not necessarily against the player that you played the most often in the biggest matches. It's one that you enjoy playing against.
“So I completely understand what he's saying; it must be insanely fun to play against Roger Federer if you feel like you have a chance to win.”
Rafael Nadal has played 41 matches against Roger Federer, with the Spaniard winning 24 (60%) of them.
By comparison, he has faced Djokovic 59 times, winning 29 (49.2%). No two players in ATP history have played each other more times than Nadal and Djokovic.
"In a personal way, of course my personal relationship with Roger has been great, and he is probably my greatest rival," Nadal said.
“At the same time all the things that we shared together on court is something difficult to describe, the emotions, all the things. And of course I personally miss him in the tennis tour, and tennis of course misses him - tournaments, fans, everyone.
“I think Roger Federer is important in every single tournament. Not only Wimbledon. He is missed in every single event of tennis, without a doubt.”
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