Thankfully for the sports world, they’ve given us some of the best matches we’ve seen over the past two decades.
Beginning at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 28 — right after a marathon of Serena Williams’ greatest Grand Slam championships — ESPN2 will air six straight classics between Federer and Nadal.
And let’s be real, we could watch these two face off all day long.
6 a.m.: 2006 Wimbledon championship
8 a.m.: 2012 Australian Open semifinal
Nadal, on an injured right knee and unsure whether he would be able to compete in the tournament to begin with, defeated Federer in four sets. This was the first time in seven years that they met on the same side of the draw — and it did not disappoint.
10 a.m.: 2007 Wimbledon championship
1 p.m.: 2017 Australian Open championship
In 2016, Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open and the French Open, Andy Murray won Wimbledon (and Olympic gold) and Stanislas Wawrinka won the US Open. But in 2017, Federer and Nadal proved they were back, starting with a five-set thriller that Federer won, giving him 18 Grand Slam singles titles.
6 p.m.: 2008 Wimbledon championship
The magnum opus of tennis matches. Through two rain delays and the longest Wimbledon final at the time (4 hours, 48 minutes), Nadal ended Federer’s reign at the All England Club by winning the first two sets, dropping the third and fourth in tiebreaks and then holding on to win the fifth set 9-7 for his first Wimbledon championship.
11 p.m.: 2009 Australian Open championship
The 33-year-old Nadal has only one Australian Open title, and he had to earn this one in five sets over Federer, who had won it three of the previous five years.
Highlights from the Federer-Nadal rivalry
Kurt Streeter: Two decades into his legendary career, Roger Federer is playing with a newfound freedom — and having way too much fun to quit now. Read
Peter Bodo: The 2008 Wimbledon men’s final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is remembered as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. Read
The Dominant 20: Roger Federer realized his dominance in the 2004 U.S. Open final against Lleyton Hewitt. This is the never-before-told oral history of that moment. Read
Michael Steinberger: As Roger Federer seeks to add a 21st major win to his record, we asked current and former pros what it’s like to be on the other side of the net. Read
Simon Cambers: When Roger Federer was a young pup on the tour, he hated facing left-handed players. Now, arguably the world’s best player, the 20-time Grand Slam winner has learned to beat them. Except Rafael Nadal. Read
Bodo: From his first Roland Garros championship at age 19 to his mind-boggling 12th title in 2019, we count down each of Rafael Nadal’s dozen French Open wins. Read