The awesome Federer-Nadal moment you didn't see

Sam Goodwin

Hours before Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did battle in the Shanghai Masters final, they were part of a brilliant on-court moment that not many people witnessed.

Both men hit the practice court ahead of their clash on Sunday, with Nadal wrapping up his session just as Federer was about to begin his.

RACE FOR NO.1: History on Federer's side in battle with Nadal

VERY SNEAKY: The cheeky Federer tactic that reversed Rafa's domination

The long-time friends and foes crossed paths as Nadal was leaving the court and Federer was entering it.

Despite the fact that they were just hours away from another massive match in their storied rivalry, they paused for a brief moment of sportsmanship to greet each other with a hand shake and a word or two.

Legends. Image: Getty

As you can see in the video above, Nadal also shook hands with Federer's coach and another member of his team.

It was only a small moment that might seem very small to some, but perfectly illustrates the incredible respect and admiration Federer and Nadal have for each other.

That same respect and admiration was also on full display after their match as Federer paid tribute to Nadal in a touching victory speech.

"We didn't think maybe we were going to have the year we did, I definitely didn't," Federer said on court, reflecting on their continued success even at this late stage of their careers.

"It's nice to share this court with you today and I hope there are more to come in the tournaments we've got left.

"It's been a pleasure playing against you here today."

The top two players in men's tennis have met four times this year – three in finals – and on each occasion Federer has come out on top, his latest win keeping alive his hope of usurping Nadal to finish 2017 as World No.1

"Today I think you played a fantastic match, so congratulations," said a visibly disappointed Nadal.

Federer extended his winning streak over Nadal to five games with a 6-4, 6-3 win on Sunday.

It was a 94th title for the Swiss legend, drawing him level with the great Ivan Lendl.