Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal swapped advice and playful jibes after playing together for the first time

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup.

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup.
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It was a spectacle few could have predicted: The coming together of two of tennis’ greatest players on the same side of the net.

But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played in the first Laver Cup, a new tournament pitting Europe against the rest of the world.

Federer, world number two, and Nadal, world number one, prevailed against Team World’s Sam Querrey and Jack Sock in 6-4 1-6 10-5 win in Prague, Czech Republic.

It helped put Team Europe on course for victory in the tournament, with Federer wrapping up the triumph on Sunday with a 4-6 7-6 11-9 singles victory over Nick Kyrgios.

Here’s the story of how the world’s two top-ranked players came together for the first time.


Before taking to the court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal talked tactics with team captain Bjorn Borg.

Who’s going to play deucecourt and who’s going to play ad court in tonight’sblockbuster #FedalUtddoubles? #TeamEuropetalk tactics. pic.twitter.com/0MWkBR7laX

#FedalUtd#TeamEuropepic.twitter.com/0MWkBR7laXSeptember23, 2017

During the chat, the two laughed about ways they should avoid injuring each other. Nadal, for example, said he would prefer Federer at the back of the court when he is returning serve, so he can “hit both sides.”


Federer said it was weird because they don’t usually talk openly about their strengths and weaknesses together.

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“We only ever practised once together back at the World Tour Finals. So we don’t practice a lot, we don’t show stuff to each other a lot, and we’ll always be rivals as long as we are active,” he said during the post-match press conference.


Nadal is left-handed and Federer right-handed, meaning they formed a pretty seamless partnership on the court.

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There was one close call in the first set, however. Federer put his name on an overhead smash, but Nadal went for the ball anyway.

Luckily, Nadal won the point.


Federer joked after that he had to “watch my back.”


On another point, Federer missed a forehand smash. He put the error down to an ulterior motive:


But the match will be remembered for some amazing images of two greats on the same side of the net.

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Who would fancy their chances against these two?

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Not many. And they prevailed 6-4 1-6 10-5 over Team World’s Sam Querrey and Jack Sock.


They loved playing together.

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“This was something very special. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing the court with Rafa,” Federer said. Nadal added: “It has been a unique moment for us… I’m very happy we won.”

But don’t expect it to happen again anytime soon. Asked if they would consider a doubles career during the post-match press conference, the pair ruled it out.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a good idea,” Nadal smiled.


After their match, Nadal continued to support Federer.

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Watching on from the sidelines as his Swiss teammate beat Nick Kyrgios, he offered this advice: “Just to be a bit more aggressive. He is playing great, and controlling the points from the baseline. But we thought that he could be a bit more aggressive on the forehand and Roger agreed.”


Team Europe eventually triumphed by a 15-9 score-line.

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And Federer and Nadal enjoyed a well-earned drink.

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