Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, there’s another photo that says more.
The two of them embrace.
It was one of the most famous photos of Federer’s career and it was taken in 2010 while the two of them were playing on court No. 3 at Melbourne Park.
It is one of those images that have endeared the two of them for much of the latter part of Federer’s career.
Their relationship has been so close that when Roger lost to Nadal in the epic final at Wimbledon in 2012, Federer showed up at Nadal’s family home in Spain with a bouquet of flowers and put them on the wall above his desk.
It was like that for the rest of the tournament.
At Roland Garros, Nadal even asked Federer for a signature photo from his chair.
After that, it has only gotten better.
Federer is just as competitive as ever, but while watching him play you can see that he looks a little more relaxed. His backswing is more flowing, his legs are looser.
He moves so well after that first final that Federer said, “It wasn’t me. It was him.”
After that 2012 final, Federer said: “I would love to play with him again. I don’t think he ever played a match when he didn’t want to.”
After their match in Tokyo in February, Nadal said he could “have played five hours with Roger. I wouldn’t have been tired.”
He added: “If I go home to a family dinner with them, I will say, ‘I met Roger [at Wimbledon] and he said hello to me but he won that final.'”
It was that kind of confidence from the world number one.
But it isn’t just an adoration for the man who will be the first man to beat Nadal at the Australian Open.
It’s probably something more. Something that has always existed, but has never quite been able to be expressed.
There is a love that cannot be spoken about.
It’s like the love that you have for your significant other. It’s a love that you can’t even imagine, but you can feel it