Roger Federer is hoping to face off against Rafael Nadal in another ‘epic battle’ before retirement, following the Spaniard’s Indian Wells withdrawal, ATP Tour report.
The pair were scheduled to take to the court on Saturday evening in the semi-finals, however, Nadal withdrew from the competition just hours before the match due to a knee problem.
The two legends of the game haven’t shared a court since the Shanghai Masters back in 2017, with many now wondering if the long-term rivals will ever meet again.
And talking to the media, Federer shared how he found out Nadal wouldn’t be able to compete in the semi-final.
Rafa texted me a message saying ‘It’s not going to be possible, my knee is not well.’ It’s definitely a big letdown because I know the anticipation [for the match] was there and the tension was so high for the both of us.
I’m obviously excited to be in the final, but not this way. He was playing some of his best tennis again, so I was looking forward to the match and I’m sorry it didn’t happen.
Federer then went on to admit how he hopes to face Nadal in another ‘epic battle’ before their retirement but insisted it could be tricky with their high rankings.
We’ve had so many epic battles and I know every match we have now could be our last. Was this our chance for the last one? I really hope not.
I believe at the level he’s playing and that I’m still going at, there’s going to be more. But if we keep staying up high in the [ATP Rankings], it’s more of a challenge to get to each other in the draw as well.
As a result of Nadal’s withdrawal, Federer will now face Dominic Thiem in the final, and a win would see the 20-time Grand Slam winner claim his 101st career title.