Federer Fans Should Embrace Nadal

Two of my readers remarked that this is becoming Ruans Nadal Blog of late, and although I am disappointed about that, this post is not in response to them. This is a post that I found necessary to make for all Fedfanatics, if not for all tennis fans. As a member of a tennis forum myself, I know how much hate exists between different fan bases, and none more so than between Federer and Nadal fans. That is to be expected I guess, as Federer and Nadal are two of the most dominant tennis players ever who happens to play in the same era. I myself have been guilty of downplaying Nadal’s achievements in the past. But that was before Nadal had came through adversity successfully. I gained a lot of respect for him of late, just like I gained respect for Federer when came through that period in 2008 where he was on 13 slams.

I am first and foremost a Fedfanatic, and nothing will ever change that. I would not have started a blog about a single individual if that was not the case. Where most people have tennis blogs, I have a Federer tennis blog. This is because I believe Federer is an extremely special athlete, the likes of what we may never see again in our lifetime. But like any great champion, Federer needed a rival that could push him. In this way Nadal is very special as well. In an era where no once could touch Federer, Nadal did that and more. As a Fedfanatic I respect that. To disrespect Nadal is too disrespect Federer, because their destinies are so intertwined. Federer needed Nadal, because Nadal is the only player that took him out of his comfort zone and pushed him to greater heights. This is why you would often see a kind of irritation Federer shows when asked about Nadal.

Nadal on the other hand needed someone who could set him an example to which he could strive to live up to. This is why Nadal often shows a kind of fan mentality when talking about Federer. Nadal himself is a Fedfanatic, but a unique one, because he is also his biggest rival. You see, I don’t see Nadal as evil and Roger as good anymore. How can you call Nadal evil if he is a Fedfanatic? I truly believe he is a misunderstood Fedfantic . He is like a little boy who admires Federer while at the same time relishes the challenge of chasing down his records. It’s almost like Federer is a big brother to him. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact I think Nadal has been a blessing for Federer. Nadal is both Federer’s friend and enemy. Why do I say this? When Federer is on top, Nadal tries to bring him down.

But when Federer is down, Nadal pulls him up. How does that work? Consider what is currently going on. Federer is at an all time low, while Nadal is on a high. Nadal has just won his 8th slam, and there is a remote possibility that he could catch up to Federer in slams won. If Nadal was not around, Federer may be inclined to just call it a day if things don’t improve for him. But with Nadal around, he can’t take that chance. He must find a way to stay in the game and either keep Nadal from winning slams, or win more slams himself. A lot of people think that is not a possibility anymore. I beg to differ. Lets just go back to 2009 for a minute here. Federer came off his worst season in a long time in 2008 after a bout with mono. He then lost in a heart wrenching Australian Open final to Nadal in 2009. Federer looked to be done.

Federer, Nadal Pictures, Images and Photos

At that time many people thought Federer won’t win another slam, and for a while it looked like they were correct. Federer kept hitting all time lows. We fans were just hoping he could somehow get lucky and win one more slam, let alone 3. But in spectacular fashion he won the French Open of all tournaments, and then two more slams after that. No one in hell expected that. In fact, for Federer to win another slam now would be less surprising than him winning the French Open last year. People don’t see this fact, but it is true. I believe Federer will be back, and he will win at least one more slam, if not more. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever. This is just the nature of the Federer and Nadal ebb and flow. And I don’t believe that ebb and flow is over. Federer will be back to win more slams and keep Nadal from winning slams.

What I am trying to say is that Federer and Nadal are involved in this seemingly eternal dance. There is a big similarity with what could be referred to as spirituality here. You could say Federer is good and Nadal is evil(or in the case of a Nadal fan that Nadal is good and Federer is evil), and they are both involved in an eternal dance. As soon as you think the one has won, the other comes back to triumph again. Every Fedfanatic and Nadal fan knows this feeling all too well. Evil never ends, but it is possible to go beyond both good and evil. As long as you choose sides, you will be subject to disappointment. But since this is tennis, not spirituality, there could always be a certain amount of agony and ecstasy involved. Unless you like either player equally. But those people are in the minority. So what is the solution? I think it is possible to appreciate both players for what they bring to the game while you still prefer one over the other.

As a Fedfanatic I can’t help but to appreciate Nadal because he keeps things interesting. Imagine there was no Nadal, or he never came back from adversity the way he did. This means Federer would have the slam record with no one in sight that could challenge that record. Fedfanatics may claim that they hate Nadal for this, but they can’t deny it keeps them interested. Also, if Nadal was not there to challenge Federer’s records, Federer may have been inclined to call it a day after everything he’s been through of late. He is married and have a family now. Why bother with the grind of tennis when this new generation of ballbashers keep hitting him off the court? He would have had no reason to really fight it out and make a comeback. So for this reason Fedfanatics must be grateful for Nadal, because he is keeping Federer in the game.

When you look at things more closely, there is really no need for this hate for either Federer or Nadal. The one is not what they are without the other. Hate is always due to ignorance. Nadal and Federer are opposites, just like good and evil are. You can’t have one without the other. If it wasn’t for Nadal’s ‘ugly’ strokes, we would not appreciate Federer’s beautiful strokes as much as we do. If it was not for Nadal’s ‘gamesmanship’ we would not appreciate Federer’s fair play as much as we do. If it was not for Nadal’s ‘stomping’ around the court, we would not appreciate Federer’s effortless and graceful movements. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Although it may be hard for us Fedfanatics to understand, some people find Federer’s game to be ugly and Nadal’s game to be beautiful. I’m trying to show you a different perspective here.


Of course I find Federer’s game at least a 100x more attractive than Nadal’s game, but a Nadal fan may think the opposite. This is sport, and duality is very much a part of it. We all like the drama that goes with it, even though we may claim we don’t. And if we enjoy the drama, then from a Fedfanatic’s perspective we indirectly like Nadal as well, because he is the one that causes the most of the drama if you’re a Fedfanatic. If you don’t like the drama you wouldn’t follow sport and I would recommend you read my spirituality blog. If you had enough of drama and the ego, spirituality is definitely the thing for you. Personally I like both. For now at least. Maybe when Federer finally calls it a day I would lose interest in tennis as well. Who knows. But first I want to be the best possible sports fan I can be.

And for me that means to appreciate all aspects of the game. In this way tennis is a spiritual discipline, because you can either look at it from the outside with detachment, or you can be inside it and lose yourself. I prefer to look at it from the outside and see Federer and Nadal as part of a whole. I can still prefer Federer over Nadal, but I do not have to condemn Nadal. I think I have already given enough reasons for this. As long as you resist evil, it will persist. The same with Nadal. If you continue to resist him, he will come back to haunt you. As long as you resist evil and can’t see that you can’t have good without evil, evil will continue to haunt you as well. But like I said, this is sport, and I still enjoy some of the drama. I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter in this ‘eternal’ dance between Federer and Nadal. The dance is not over…

Roger Federer

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19 Comments

  1. I like you’re thinking here very much – I myself remain nuetral – love them both to death, and it’s much more enjoyable than to get caught up rooting for or against one or the other, because as you said, it leads to disappointment.

    This was a really heartfelt and fun read. A glimpse into the minds of the true fans.

    Well done!

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    Dragos Reply:

    @The Fan Child
    This might mean that you have an extremely good control on your feelings if you are able to “love them both to death” as you said. Despite the fact that I am not a child anymore for a long, long time I can not say the same thing about the way that I control my feelings :-) . So I am only Roger’s fan ;-) .

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Fan Child :-)

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  2. Sorry Ruan but I got mentally bad reading lot of articles about Nadal as the new GOAT,sometime ago was Murray as the new and real N1? After digesting all these information I had a conclusion only Roger knows himself, knows his inside and he´s not used to handle with these experiences.He has lost matches but he´s not going to give any chances to those who are writing horrible things to say the less.It´s not an easy moment for a Fedfan, in my opinion you have chosen a bad moment to speak about Nadal and how good he is…if you are a real fan this hurts, Wimbly hurts, the final without Roger hurts,…no matter how well Nadal is
    playing, it hurts.I have a feeling that Nadal fans know
    exactly what this feels like.This time last year was a low point for Rafa too.The story gives me hope,Roger will find his way back up to the top.
    Time to support Roger and his fans not to praise Nadal at least for a while.We really need a break to be healthy.
    I´ll be rooting for Germany, sure Roger will do the same.

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    jane Reply:

    dont worry ines, nadal is nowhere near goat yet, he only has 8 slams,anyway its really pointless to discuss abt goat when non of the players have finished the career yet.also i suggest you dont take every article you read too seriously.

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    Dragos Reply:

    After all Jane I agree with you… How to take seriously something written in today news paper that anyhow will be used tomorrow to wrap some goods by the construction workers that are founding it thrown on the side walk… Today news and news papers are having a shorter life than ephemera insects are. The only thing that is prolonging a news life is polemics… :-)

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  3. What can I say more? Two people that I like put their souls on the plate for us to look at them. I know very well what you mean Ines about pain and I know for sure that Ru-an was looking for a way to limit this pain because this is how we met in the first place on the internet. I was trying to do the same thing, to limit the pain, that in some moments was extremely big.
    I do not consider that it is a bad thing what I was trying to do. I am not consider treason or cowardice.
    I just consider that it was my duty, for the sake of my soul and soul salvation, to try to control something that was controlling me. And it was controlling me in a manner that I was a menace for my family and for myself.
    I don’t really know how old are Roger’s fans. I was watching tennis since the age of 3 because I was born in the same country as Ilie Nastase and we were, when he was still playing, very nationalistic. I still am right now in a good manner meaning that I am PRO Romanian values and traditions without being contra other country’s values.
    Being a compatriot of Ilie Nastase in a way I should be familiar with defeat because I can not remember Ilie winning any match against Stan Smith for example :-) .
    I liked a lot Pete Sampras but not as much as Roger. In a short way NOBODY was able TO CREATE such PAIN to me as Roger Federer did.
    Thinking rationally and not emotionally probably Ru-an is right. But my quest is not to like Nadal but to be able to watch a game of Roger enjoying it not matter what happens in the end. But I think this is not going to be possible until Roger himself will play without thinking what is going to happen after the game.
    I have a profound repulsion for press (although my sister is a journalist) because they are hunting only sensational and they are always like hyenas trying to attack people that are in a bad position already.
    One of the Holly Fathers of the Christian Orthodox Church said once: “do not add your curiosity to the sadness of a person that already suffered something bad”.
    I am sure that Roger as a person is going to find a way to deal with these experiences that he is not used. In order to give his best he has to be without psychical or physical pain. That is why I am kindly asking you not to be angry on Ru-an, me or on those trying to limit the pain. Pain threshold is so much different according to each and every person.
    Let’s do what Ru-an said and pray to God to help Roger to find a way out of this situation. After all Roger’s fight is also our fight in our life: to find a way to handle unexpected and difficult experiences. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Enjoying your comments as always Dragos :-)

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    jane Reply:

    dragos…want to take a bet on who will win US OPEN?

    [Reply]

    Dragos Reply:

    As long as you are still in love with Tarzan and I am not, and will never be, is pointless to bet. :-)

    [Reply]

    Dragos Reply:

    By the way Ru-an, which is the English word that defines when anaconda is “embracing” it’s victims? It’s still embrace ;-) ?…

    [Reply]

    jane Reply:

    dragos..u take fed and i take nadal..

    [Reply]

    Dragos Reply:

    Why am I not surprised?! Sorry I can not bet because of my religious believes.

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    ines Reply:

    I´m not angry with Ruan I have always love his blog,in this moment his posts really hurts me, here I used to find support,now so many people who want to hate on him will always jump to the worst conclusion.Besides what´s the point?I´ve watched him be magnanimus in defeat over the years, only to be knocked down again and again by haters.
    Allow him to have bad matches,bad tournaments and bad seasons,he has nothing to prove.He will still walk away
    from 2010 with a slam.It´s what I asked for at the beginning of the year.
    “When I want to talk I talk”, in this moment I don´t want to talk over and over about Nadal.That´s all.To be healhy

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  4. I see your point Ruan. Good article. It’s hard to see your favorite athlete lose nowadays. And with Nadal being so young and having so much success, it is threatening to the fans. I think that both Roger and Rafa have benefited from each other and has helped (Rafa) and hurt (Roger) each other in their careers.

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  5. I definitely agree with you! I am first and foremost a Federer fan, and although I’ll never want Nadal to win or support him as much I do Roger, it doesn’t mean I can’t respect him as a player and person.

    I think the press are probably the main reason most people end up loving one of them and hating the other, since it’s natural to want the person you support to do better than their rival. Comparisons between the two are always made and I think a lot of Federer fans see Nadal as the only realistic threat to his status as the greatest, especially as he’s also younger, which is only made worse when one of them goes on a slump and the media inevitably try to make out as it their career is over.

    That said, the kind of articles that are obviously going to stir up the fans of both players do annoy me too. Though I expect just as reading someones argument that Nadal is actually the GOAT annoys me just as much as a Rafa fan reading that he’ll never be able to match Roger’s records.

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  6. I really enjoyed this post! Great read!

    I completely agree with you though, as much as I despise Rafa sometimes, I have a deep respect for him. He has gone places against Federer where other players never venture.

    As funny as it sounds, I also had this Federer was good, Nadal was evil mentality. But as I see how Nadal has developed and pushed through adversity, I’ve grown to see him as a player that constantly challenges Federer to be the great player we’ve always seen.

    “To disrespect Nadal is too disrespect Federer, because their destinies are so intertwined.” Great quote, completely agree.

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  7. Great Article. I was only a mild tennis fan until a friend at work kept on going on about this Federer guy. I thought he was exaggerating but it turned ou the be an gross understatement. Nadal is a great player and I wish him the best. Roger is now on the decline. However when he’s playing his very best no one but no one can touch Federer that why it hurts to see him lose. I pray he can win one more Wimbledon against Nadal of course. Then retire leaving the world in no doubt of how brilliant he was and how fortunate were able to witness the GOAT.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Clive. I hope so too.

    [Reply]

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