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'Roger Federer is my greatest rival and I am missing him,' admits Rafael Nadal

Wimbledon is being played for the first time this century without Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal admits that he is missing his 'greatest rival.'
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal admitted that he was 'personally missing' Roger Federer at Wimbledon, who he still believes to be his 'greatest rival.'

Novak Djokovic is actually the player that Nadal has faced more than any other, but his battles with Federer hold more significance to many.

Federer is missing from Wimbledon for the first time since the late 1990s this summer, as he continues to fight his way back from triple-knee surgery.

Attendance figures at the Championships have been down on expectation, with organisers speculating that is mainly down to the absence of Federer, and Nadal says he counts himself among those who miss the Swiss star.

"Well, it's a negative thing," Nadal said when asked what it was like playing at Wimbledon without Roger Federer.

"But the life, that's the circle of life, you know. Time happens, and the watch, the clock never stops. This kind of stuff we need to get used to.

"But in a personal way, of course my personal relationship with Roger have been always great, and probably my greatest rival.

"At the same time all the things that we shared together on court is something difficult to describe, the emotions, all the things.

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"And of course I personally miss him in the tennis tour, and tennis of course miss him, tournaments, fans, everyone.

Roger Federer is most synonymous with Wimbledon, where he has won a record eight titles.

Asked if his presence was 'particularly' missed in SW19, Rafael Nadal said: No, no, we can't create a story just about Wimbledon.

"I think Roger Federer is important in every single tournament. Not only Wimbledon. He is a well-missed player in every single event of tennis, without a doubt."

Federer says he is expecting to make a comeback to tennis, starting this year with the Laver Cup in late September.

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