Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: Who is the G.O.A.T in tennis?

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: Who is the G.O.A.T in tennis?

Helix Odhiambo
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:06 PM

The rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is considered by many the greatest in men's tennis history. Their consistency, achievements and records set have taken the sport to a different level. So, discover more about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's comparison and know who is better.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, who is the best?
R. Federer (R) hugs Spain's R. Nadal (L) during their tennis match at The Match in Africa at the Cape Town Stadium on 7 February 2020. Photo: Rodger Bosch
Source: Getty Images

It is not easy to pick one of the two champions as the GOAT of tennis. Their exceptional talents have even divided tennis fans in the never-ending debates about who is the best between the two stars. Before comparing their stats and achievements, here is a profile of the two that will help you understand them.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's profile

Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal

Date of birth

8 August 1981

3 June 1986

Place of birth

Basel, Switzerland

Manacor, Spain


Swiss, South African


Age (as of 14 July 2022)




1.85 m

1.85 m


85 kg

85 kg


Lynette, Robert Federer

Sebastián Nadal, Ana María Parera


Mirka Federer

Maria Francisca Perello


Myla Rose, Leo, Lenny, Charlene Riva



Professional tennis player

Professional tennis player

Year turned pro






Social media

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, who is the best?

Before comparing their stats, let us first understand their life background. So, who had a better foundation?

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Roger Federer

The Swiss international was born to a Swiss father (Robert Federer) and a South African mother (Lynette). At eight, he developed an interest in tennis and football but decided to focus on tennis. His talent and skills were evident after winning the national junior tennis champion in Switzerland at 14.

Roger later joined the International Tennis Federation junior tennis circuit in July 1996. He won the junior Wimbledon title and the Orange Bowl before turning pro in 1998.

Rafael Nadal

Rafa was born in Mallorca, Spain. He began playing tennis at age three and turned pro at 15. He was inspired by his uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player. Toni helped him nurture his skills. He won multiple Spanish and European tennis titles at 12, showing great signs of succeeding his uncle.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal wins and stats

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal wins
R. Federer of Switzerland (R) shaking hands with R. Nadal after losing to the Spanish player in the French Open tennis tournament in Paris semi-finals on 7 June 2019. Photo: Kyodo
Source: Getty Images

Who has won more, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer? The Spaniard tops the list of career wins in ATP history with a win-loss of 1063-212 (83%) as of July 2022. His rival, Roger, is second with a win-loss of 1,251-275 (82%). Meanwhile, Federer has the most Grand Slams victories (369), followed by Novak Djokovic (327) and Nadal (305).

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal head to head

The two tennis stars have met each other 40 times in their career, with the Spaniard boasting more victories over his rival. Their first meeting was in March 2004 in Miami, where Nadal emerged with a victory.

Roger won their last encounter in 2019 when they met in the semi-final in Wimbledon, but who has a better head-to-head record?

R. Federer

R. Nadal




Nadal vs Federer in Wimbledon, 2008

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon clash is considered the greatest match in tennis history. It is the most spectacular and memorable match between the two stars. Defending champion Roger (No.1) entered the game as a favourite against Rafa, who ranked 2nd in ATP.

The iconic match lasted for four hours and 48 minutes and stretched to seven hours due to rain interruption. Interestingly, Nadal stunned the Swiss 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 to claim the title.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal trophies

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal trophies
R. Nadal (L) with the French Open trophy he won on 5 June 2022, and R. Federer (R) of Switzerland with the Miami Open trophy he won on 31 March 2019. Photo: Richard Callis, TPN (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The two tennis legends have won nearly everything in the sport. However, Rafa has a slight edge over the Swiss in major singles trophies won.


R. Federer

R. Nadal

Grand slams



ATP Masters 1000 titles



Olympics singles



ATP Finals






Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's friendship

Many people have witnessed the two stars battle with rackets and the ball, but does the rivalry extend beyond the court? The tennis icons have great respect for one another and share moments off-courts that helped to build a strong relationship.

In 2019, the Swiss revealed the nature of their friendship that most people do not understand. He even attended the inauguration of Nadal's academy in Manacor in October 2016.

"To be honest, we understand each other very, very well. What I like about Rafa is how open and honest we are with one another. We respect each other so much. Are we best friends? I do not think so. He has better friends than me and me too. But in the end, it's about respect. When we fight on the court, we are rivals."

Rafa and Roger to team up

Rafa and Federer are set to team up to represent Europe in the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, set for 23-25 September 2022 at The O2 in London. In 2017, they paired in doubles in Prague and helped Team Europe win the title in its inaugural year.

2022 ATP rankings

The latest ATP ranking has shocked many tennis fans after Swiss legend Roger Federer failed to appear in the singles ranking for the first time since his debut. The 40-year-old sustained a knee injury in July 2020 at Wimbledon and has not played tennis since then.

His absence meant he could not be ranked because the rankings are based on points gained over 52 weeks. Meanwhile, his Spanish rival ranks third behind Russia's Daniil Medvedev (no.1) and Alexander Zverev (no.2) of Germany.

Who has more wealth?

The two maestros have accumulated massive wealth in their careers. They rank among the wealthiest tennis players in history. Roger's estimated net worth is $550 million. He is richer than his rival Nadal whose estimated net worth is $180 million.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal matches has always lived up to their billing. However, Federer's recent injury could end an era of the biggest rivalry in tennis history. Despite the challenges, the 40-year-old is determined to return and continue his legacy.

READ ALSO: World rankings of the top 20 women tennis players in 2022 also ranked the top 20 best women tennis players in 2022 based on their achievements. Women's tennis has become more popular and produced many brilliant talents, including the legendary Serena, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova.

However, 2022 has seen the rise of other brilliant talents like WTA's no.1 Swiatek Iga, Kontaveit Anett (no.2), and Badosa Paula (no.3). Click the link above to discover more about the talented tennis queens.

Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.