Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - Laver Cup 2022

Roger Federer reveals that he ‘felt sad’ for Rafael Nadal after Indian Wells withdrawal

Roger Federer has spoken about some of his former rivals, revealing that he hopes Rafael Nadal ‘can get back on the train’ after his recent withdrawal from Indian Wells.

Federer, who has been retired since September 2022, spoke in a lengthy interview to GQ about much attention he pays to former ‘big three’ rivals Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

“I mean obviously you’re aware when they’re in the finals or you’re aware when Rafa comes back or you’re aware when Novak breaks another record,” said Federer. “It’s all good, you know? But I will not set my schedule aside, like, well, This match I have to see. But obviously I’ve followed it and I love to see that, especially Novak’s been going from strength to strength. It keeps on going.”

The Swiss went onto speak more specifically about Nadal, who recently made a late withdrawal from Indian Wells after revealing that he was not as ready as planned.

“And Rafa obviously, I felt sad for him that he has not been able to play nearly as much or at all to what he wanted to do,” Federer continued. “I hope that he can do what he wants to do in the summer, because even though I have a good feeling for him, and I know he pulled out of Indian Wells and Doha and all that stuff, but I still am very hopeful that he can get back on the train and ride it.”

Nadal has suggested that 2024 is likely to be his final year on the ATP Tour, as well as Andy Murray, two players that Federer competed with many times over the years.

Despite this, the 42-year-old admitted that he is glad to have been the first to say farewell to the sport, “It feels good. When I retired in London at the press conference next to Andy, Novak, Rafa, and [Bjorn] Borg and everybody who was there, I said, ‘It’s fitting for me to be the first to go.’

“I had the time without them on tour when I came on tour and now it’s their time to have a moment on tour without me. So it would’ve felt wrong for me if Murray, who almost retired with his hip, or Rafa with his knees, we didn’t know how long he was going to play. So I’m happy I was the first to go. And actually I wish that they can go on for as long as I did.”

It is currently unclear as to when Nadal will officially return to the ATP Tour, with the Spaniard aiming to comeback for the clay court season at the Monte Carlo Masters next month.

Rafael Nadal - Instagram 2024

Inside the baseline…

It is clear how much respect Roger Federer has for his former rivals and colleagues, while they also don’t seem to take up too much space in his head anymore since retiring from the sport. Many tennis fans will echo the sentiment of Federer, hoping that Rafael Nadal can have as dignified a send off as he did himself.

READ NEXT: Jannik Sinner ‘the best tennis player in the world’ claims Carlos Alcaraz

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner 

Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.