Roger Federer
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have a combined 37 Grand Slam titles between them. In this picture, Nadal of Spain acknowledges Federer of Switzerland after the latter won their Men's Final match on day 14 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Australia, Jan. 29, 2017. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have shared arguably one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis — one that has gone on for well over a decade.

Nadal and Federer’s first encounter was at the Miami Open in 2004 and they have since played each other 38 times, most of which have been in the major tournaments at either in the semi-finals or the final.

The Spaniard has the advantage, having won 23 of their 38 encounters, but in recent years Federer has held the upper hand, having won the last four matches between the pair. The Swiss ace is considered the greatest ever by many former and current players, while Nadal is also thought to be one of the all-time greats.

They have a combined 37 Grand Slam titles between them — 20 for Federer and 17 for Nadal — and despite their intense rivalry on court, they share a cordial relationship off it. And Nadal said he is proud of their relationship as both the players have conducted themselves with a lot of respect for each other.

“It has always been a positive relationship, a lot of respect, we shared a lot of important moments for both of us and we always did it in a good way. It's something I am proud,” Nadal said, talking about his relationship with his biggest rival, as per Tennis World USA.

Nadal is currently the top ranked player in men’s singles, having dominated the last 15 months. Federer has been with him along the way and is currently ranked number two having won three major titles in the same period.

They are both in the latter stages of their careers and have to limit their schedules in order to remain in peak physical condition throughout the campaign. Federer skipped the entire clay court season, while Nadal’s only grass court tournament in 2018 was the Wimbledon Championships.

The Spaniard admits even his time on the practice courts has reduced over the years, and added now it is all about timing and the intensity of the training rather than the hours.

“Of course without practising well your chances of success are not very high, but of course you don't need the same practice as today as when you are 20 years old,” the 11-time French Open winner added. “But you still need to practice well. Practising well doesn't mean you have to be four or five hours on court, you need to be the right time on the court and you need to play with the right intensity when you do the work.”

Nadal and Federer are currently again on a mini break after the third Grand Slam of the year at the All England Club. They are likely to return to action at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in the first week of August.