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'A few months ago we were both on crutches' - Roger Federer pays tribute to Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Roger Federer says he and Rafael Nadal were joking about both being on crutches just a few months ago as he congratulated him on his Australian Open win.

Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in an incredible Grand Slam final on Sunday to surpass the 20 titles that both Federer and Novak Djokovic have won.

Federer is currently out of the game with a knee injury, with Nadal missing much of last season with a foot injury.

"What a match," Federer wrote on Instagram after the Australian Open final.

"To my friend and great rival Rafael Nadal, heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles tiles.

"A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing.

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"Never underestimate a great champion. Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.

"I am proud to share this era with you and honoured to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me for the past 18 years.

"I am sure you have more achievements ahead but for now enjoy this one!"

Rafael Nadal will now be favourite to win a 22nd major at the French Open, where he is the most successful player in the history of the tournament.

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