Around 16 years ago in 2007, tennis greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer competed in an exhibition match with a twist.
The match, which was named ‘Battle of Surfaces’, pitted the two best players on their preferred surfaces to try and find out who was the better. The true tennis GOAT, if you will. Sorry Novak fans…
It was played in Mallorca and the incredible court, which had clay on one side and grass on the other, cost over £1 million to put together.
Federer was the world number one at the time and had won 48 successive matches on grass, whereas Nadal hadn’t lost on clay for over three years.
Before the match, the Swiss star said: “We are both looking forward to this absolutely new event.
“The idea really appeals to me as we both dominate one of the surfaces.
“It’ll be fun to find out what it’s like to play on a court with mixed surfaces! And it ought to be interesting to see who chooses the better tactic.”
Video: Nadal vs Federer on 50-50 surface
Nadal took the opening set 7-5 in front of 7,000 spectators, who were intrigued to see who would come out on top on the historic occasion.
The now 41-year-old Federer, who has sadly retired from the game, bounced back and took the second set 6-4 to set up a decider.
The match swung one way then the other before the Spaniard took the deciding set 12-10 in the tie-break to emerge victorious.
After his win, the King of Clay said: “It was a good experience, although before the game I thought it would be a disaster because I felt it would be very difficult for me to adapt to the court.”
In the years following the event, Nadal has gone on to win the French Open, which is the only Grand Slam on clay, an amazing 14 times.
The Spanish star added his most recent title last year, beating Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in Paris.
Whether you are Team Rafa or Team Roger, you can absolutely appreciate both of them and what they have both done for the sport of tennis as a whole.
With Federer retired, and Nadal certainly on his way out, it’s a case of looking back and truly being thankful that they gave us one of the best rivalries in, not just tennis, but sport as a whole.