A storied rivalry. The greatest of all time. Perhaps just two weeks ago, the Federer-Nadal rivalry was still highly anticipated. But what has happened since?
Not that nobody cares about it anymore; it's just that someone else has taken the spotlight: Novak Djokovic.
Before the Australian Open, all the talk was around whether Nadal would be the first to win four majors in a row since Rod Laver. The Rafa Slam. If not that, then Federer would redeem himself for, by Federer's expectations, a disastrous year in 2010.
Either way, many tennis fans expected a Nadal-Federer final.
But it was not to be.
Federer would not reach the final of a major for an entire year now. Nadal would not make it past the quarterfinals, due to another injury. Within a time span of about 48 hours, talk regarding this anticipated final had died. Instead, it was a Djokovic-Murray final. In fact, after Djokovic's win, questions regarding whether or not this duo is the new rivalry worth rooting for or whether Djokovic will be the new No. 1 on tour quickly arose.
So where does that leave Rafa and Roger now?
The Spaniard is taking 10 days of pure rest for now due to a "adductor longus rupture of the left leg". The Swiss Maestro is probably in Dubai, working even harder with Annacone now after his loss to Djokovic.
Luckily, its February, which means both players have a lot of time to do what they need to do. Nadal is not planning to play until the Davis Cup in March. Federer is not playing until the Dubai Tennis Championships in two weeks.
Therefore, assuming that these 10 days are sufficient for Nadal to recover, and Federer continues his hard work, both should be in wonderful form for their next tour-level matches.
Does that mean more Federer-Nadal ATP matches are lurking on the horizon? Maybe. They definitely will be playing at Nike's "Clash of the Champions" on March 8th if fans of this rivalry want to go see it, but no matter what, this rivalry is still very much alive, even if their performance at the Australian Open was relatively poor.
So don't go jumping on the Djokovic-Murray bandwagon just yet.
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