Rafael Nadal is superior to Roger Federer in a number of areas – ‘He’s one in a billion’

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Rafael Nadal has been branded ‘better’ than his long-time rival Roger Federer. Former world No 7 Fernando Verdasco revealed that, while the Swiss star is often lauded for having a more aesthetically pleasing game, it’s Nadal who is a more challenging opponent.

Alongside Novak Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have been fighting to become the GOAT in men’s singles tennis.

The Big Three are all tied of 20 Grand Slams each, making the race to become the best player in history as close as ever.

With an argument for Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, many believe the debate cannot be settled until all three have retired.

Despite that, the Swiss star has often been regarded as the GOAT, likely because he was the first of the three to break Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Majors, and was also the first to reach 20, so got to the title first.

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However, one former top ten player has given his backing to Nadal, listing the reasons he believes the Spaniard is the superior player.

Fernando Verdasco, who lost to Nadal in his only Grand Slam semi-final at the 2009 Australian Open, found his compatriot to be a trickier opponent to face.

“Being at 100% at all times, I think Rafael Nadal demands one more step from you, both physically and mentally,” he told Punto de Break.

The 37-year-old had the season of his career back in 2009 and has been a mainstay in the top 50 for several years but fell outside of the world’s top 100 this year after struggling with injuries.

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Although Verdesco was able to beat Nadal three times in their 20 career matches, while never beating Federer in seven attempts, he said the world No 5 was the toughest opponent he has faced.

“Being all at 100%, I think Rafa demands one more step from you, both physically and mentally,” the world No 133 said.

He also praised Nadal for winning 13 Roland Garros titles, branding it the most difficult tournament.

Verdasco laughed: “Nadal has won Roland Garros 1000 times, the toughest tournament mentally and physically in the world, but other Spaniards have dominated it before, this is seen in the history of tennis.”

Asked about a comment from tennis legend Ken Rosewall, who once said Nadal would never have been able to beat Federer if he was right-handed, Verdasco backed his compatriot and dismissed the verdict.

“With his physique and his mental strength, he would have won anyway,” the seven-time title winner said.

“Technically it can be more or less showy, everyone says that Federer is the most elegant, the one who plays the most beautiful. 

“Okay, Rafa does not play as beautiful as Roger, but Rafa in important moments arrives in extremis from outside the court and hits a right in the race outside the net to the squad that you are stunned. 

“Rafa is one in a billion, otherwise he would not have had the career he has had.”
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