Tennis

Rafael Nadal's uncle rates Roger Federer as the best ever

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There is nothing quite like the support you're supposed to receive from your family. However, Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, has revealed that his thinks his nephew is short of the levels set by record-breaker Roger Federer.

The illustrious pair have been involved in some great on-court battles down the years, and both have established themselves firmly in the top echelon of men's tennis, but who is the best?

Federer is the most successful player in Grand Slam history, having won 17 titles, and Toni Nadal believes those figures are enough to justify a position above his nephew.

TOP DOG

"I think he is (the best of all-time), the numbers say so," he told a Spanish radio show. "Federer is the best in the history of the game alongside Rod Laver and, unfortunately for us, it is like that."

Nadal is certainly no stranger to success though. The 28-year-old is level with Pete Sampras on 14 titles in the Grand Slam list that Federer leads, and hopefully he still has plenty of life left in him. It remains a real possibility that the Spaniard could catch his Swiss rival, who is 33-years-old now.

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DAVIS DOMINATION 

The question was posed to Nadal snr in the wake of Federer's - and Switzerland's - maiden Davis Cup trophy, which was won against the final's hosts France. The international trophy was the one piece of silverware that had evaded the former world number one. His haul is now complete alongside all his major, Masters, Tour Finals and Olympic gongs. 

Some of the best Grand Slam finals in the history of the sport have been played out between Nadal and Federer. Their Wimbledon meetings in 2006, 2007 and 2008 will be remembered most fondly. 

In fact, of the eight times they have battled in a major final together, Nadal has triumphed in all but two instances. It reflects their overall head-to-head record in which the Majorcan-born star holds the advantage at 23-10.

"Federer has won 17 Grand Slams, Rafael has won 14. He was number one for five years, Rafael for three."

NADAL KNACK

Despite their stats against each other, Toni doesn't think it's enough to favour Rafa. 

He said: "I don't know why that is. Federer's game doesn't affect Rafael as much. In any case, one is the best for the titles they win.

In recent years, both Federer and Nadal have found success harder to come-by thanks to the continually-improving Novak Djokovic; the Serbian is the current world number one and recently secured a hat-trick of ATP World Tour Finals titles in London.

"Djokovic is a great player, for me he is almost at the level of Federer," continued Nadal's uncle. "He is very good, I don't know if he is better of worse than Rafael.

"In titles, Rafael is better than him. In terms of how they play, I don't know. At the end of the day everyone is free to have whatever opinion they want."

2015 could be an intriguing year in the trios rivalry. Federer continues to defy age with some vintage performances, but for how long? Nadal needs to hope he can continue his decent record in overcoming injury after a blighted 2014, while Djokovic will be looking his consistency can keep him on top of the world. 

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Topics:
Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal
Tennis

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