• ATP Tour

Nadal and Federer 'getting closer all the time'

ESPN staff
March 13, 2011
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have bucked the trend and enjoy a friendship off the court © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal believes he and Roger Federer have found the perfect balance between friendship and rivalry.

The pair have enjoyed a thrilling rivalry, going head to head 22 times on court since 2004, but they have also met frequently in exhibition matches and charity fundraisers.

Nadal leapfrogged Federer to take the world No. 1 spot for the second time following his French Open victory last year, but he insists they are good friends off the court.

"We love competition, but we understand outside competition [there] is the relationship of outside of the court," Nadal said. "[It] doesn't affect nothing on our performance on court. That's the most important thing.

"At the end, we have a good connection together, and that's why we are always open to do exhibitions or events for our foundations or anything together. I think Roger, for sure he's a good person, but at the same time he's a good friend of mine at this moment.

"For sure, our relationship is getting closer and closer all the time, and I think we are feeling comfortable together."

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