Tennis' GOAT? Rafael Nadal Vs. Roger Federer, By The Numbers

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Kurt Badenhausen   Forbes U.S. Staff

Tennis' GOAT? Rafael Nadal Vs. Roger Federer, By The Numbers

Roger Federer missed the French Open in 2020, but he will be on everyone's mind as Rafael Nadal attempts to equal his Grand Slam record Sunday. Photo: Rafael Nadal Twitter

Rafael Nadal squares off against Novak Djokovic Sunday in Paris in the 2020 French Open Final, which was rescheduled from June due to the coronavirus. History is on the line, as well as a $1.9 million check for the winner (loser gets $1 million).

Nadal will be chasing more than just Djokovic’s scorching two-handed backhands in front of 1,000 fans at Roland Garros. The Spaniard is one Grand Slam title shy of Roger Federer’s record 20 championships, while Djokovic ranks third all-time at 17.

Djokovic holds a slim 29-26 advantage over Nadal in their 15 years facing off on the ATP Tour; they have split their previous eight Slam finals, with the most recent a Djokovic win at the 2019 Australian Open.

The Djokovic-Nadal rivalry is one of the best in tennis, but it is Federer-Nadal that is destined to go down in history alongside Borg-McEnroe and Navratilova-Evert. The duo won 24 out of the 28 Slams between 2004 and 2010. While the on-court rivalry between Nadal and Federer is close, Fed, who sat out the French Open recovering from knee surgery, wins in a walkover off the court. The Swiss tennis ace was the world’s highest-paid athlete for the 12 months ending June 1, with endorsement earnings of $100 million, four times his rival Nadal.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers on and off the court for Nadal and Federer.

2: Nadal’s current world ranking, behind only Djokovic. Federer sits at No. 4.

2: Olympic gold medals for Nadal—a 2008 singles medal and another in doubles in 2016 in Rio. Federer won gold in doubles in 2008 and silver in singles in 2012.

12: Nadal’s record number of French Open titles, twice as many as Björn Borg’s six, which ranks second in the Open era.  

15: Straight years Federer has been the highest-paid tennis player in the world. including prize money and endorsements. Andre Agassi was the last player to out-earn Fed.

19: Grand Slam titles won by Nadal, including at least one in a men’s record 10 straight years.

20: Record number of Grand Slam singles titles won by Federer, including a record eight Wimbledon crowns. His last title was the 2018 Australian Open.

24-16: Nadal holds a commanding lead in his head-to-head rivalry with Federer, but he’s lost seven of their last eight matches.

85: Career singles titles for Nadal, fourth most in the Open era.

103: Career titles for Federer, second most behind Jimmy Connors’ 109.

160: Nadal was ranked No. 2 in the world behind Federer for a record 160 straight weeks from July 2005 until August 2008 when Nadal overtook Fed for the top spot.

310: Federer’s record number of weeks ranked No. 1 in the world, including 237 straight weeks. He most recently was first in June 2018 when he became the oldest to hit the top spot at 36 years old. Nadal has been on top of the ATP rankings 209 weeks, sixth most all-time. His last time at No. 1 was in November.

1998: Year Federer turned pro. Nadal followed three years later.

$1 million: Nadal wore a $1 million Richard Mille watch in his matches throughout the French Open. The watch weighs a scant one ounce and only 50 were made. Nadal has endorsed the brand for 10 years.

$17 million: Spaniards Nadal and six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol raised more than $17 million to help the Red Cross’ efforts to support those impacted by the coronavirus in Spain.

$40 million: Nadal’s earnings from prize money and endorsements for 12 months ending June 1; it ranked No. 27 among all athletes.

$52 million: Money spent by the Roger Federer Foundation to support educational projects in southern Africa and Switzerland.

$60 million: Income from endorsements and appearance fees for Federer for the 12 months ending in June 2016. It is the highest total for any athlete in the world.

$106 million: Annual earnings for Federer when he topped Forbes’ 2020 tally of the world’s highest-paid athletes. He is the first tennis player on top since the list debuted in 1990. 

$121 million: Career prize money for Nadal heading into the French Open, trailing only Federer ($130 million) and Djokovic ($144 million).

$300 million: Value of the 10-year deal Federer signed with Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo in 2018. He cashes the checks whether he is active or retired from the Tour.

$900 million: Estimated career earnings for Federer, including prize money, endorsements and appearance fees since he turned pro. Nadal has banked $450 million through June 2020.

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Kurt Badenhausen   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a senior editor at Forbes and focused mainly on the business of sports and our annual franchise valuations. I also spend a lot of my time digging into what athletes earn on and off the field of play. I've profiled a bunch of athletes that go by one name: LeBron, Shaq, Danica and others. I also started our biennial B-School rankings; annual features on the Best Places for Business (metros, states and countries); and America's Best Banks. I joined Forbes in 1998 after working 3 years at Financial World magazine.