Rafael Nadal..

Rafael Nadal explains why Roger Federer has impressed him so much this year

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal endure as some of the greatest ever tennis players and 2017 has been something of a victory lap for the remarkable pair.

Despite the incredible rise of Novak Djokovic since the turn of the decade, as well as the Grand Slam captures of Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer and Nadal shared the major titles this calendar year.

The former garnered his first Grand Slam title since 2012 at the Australian Open before capturing a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon crown. 

Meanwhile, Nadal reacquired the French Open title he made his own between 2005 and 2014, before adding a third US Open trophy to his brimming cabinet.

And what better way for the season to end than with Nadal and Federer slogging it out in the final of the Shanghai masters with the Swiss master eventually emerging victorious.

The 36-year-old provided a tennis masterclass - including a spree of aces - to down Nadal 6-4 6-3 for his fourth victory over the world number one in 2017.

There can be no doubt that Federer's decision to miss the clay season has played a massive role in the Swiss player's renaissance, especially given his age and performances between 2012 and 2016.

However, Nadal was keen to cite exactly how Federer handled these breaks as evidence of how remarkable his rival showings really are.

2017 ATP 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters - Day 8

After the final in China, he explained: "He has played well for the whole season. And the good thing for him is he take the periods of rest and when he was back he was able to win.

"So that makes a difference, because is very easy to say, okay, I take this period of time and that works very well. ‘Okay, yeah, that works very good if you come back, win. Because if you come back, you don’t win, then for sure is not working well.

"The calendars are always looking good or looking bad in terms of the results, you know. When somebody is winning a lot, looks like calendar is perfect.

"When somebody is losing, looks like the calendar is not good. For this year, Roger did great in all the events that he played, so looks like he saved his body, he did the right things, yes, probably, yes, but at the same time anything could happen. "

And the confidence is going up and down sometimes. You can lose a couple of matches and changes everything, but of course he did unbelievable.

2017 ATP 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters - Day 8

"He played very high level of tennis during the whole season, so well done for him and happy to see him play well."

Who do you think is the tennis GOAT - Nadal or Federer? Have your say in the comments section below.

Stanislas Wawrinka
Novak Djokovic
Serena Williams
Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer

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