Roger Federer's camp hits back at Rafael Nadal retirement theory

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Roger Federer’s coach has hit back at claims the 20-time grand slam champ is desperate to prevent Rafael Nadal overtaking his record.

With his victory at the US Open last week, Nadal claimed his 19th major and moved to within one of Federer’s all-time record.

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That led to Mats Wilander theorising that Federer is so desperate to avoid losing his record that he’ll play on for two or three more years instead of retiring.

But according to Federer’s long-term coach Severin Luthi, the Swiss legend won’t be losing any sleep over whether or not Nadal overtakes him.

The 38-year-old began the year three ahead of Nadal but the Spaniard claimed a 12th French Open title this year, followed up by winning his fourth US Open.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It has re-energised the GOAT (greatest of all time) debate with Nadal looking back to his best after injury concerns earlier this year.

Never in his career has Nadal been only one grand slam title behind Federer, who squandered two match points against Novak Djokovic in this year's Wimbledon final.

"No, I don't think he stresses (about Nadal catching him up)," Luthi, who has toured with Federer since 2007, said.

"He focuses on himself. He has a lot of respect for Rafa and knows what it takes to win that many titles.

"I don't see him in any way stressed. He won't be completely destroyed if Rafa makes the 20."

Mats Wilander at the French Open in 2018. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Luthi wants fans to embrace rivalry

Luthi said fans of tennis should savour watching the two greats, rather than obsess about who is superior.

"It's good for the fans. Especially the ones who thought it was all over when Roger had 16 or 17 and Rafa had 14."

Wilander previously said he thinks Federer will try to prolonge his career to ensure he keeps the record.

“Federer will try to stop Nadal, it will encourage the Swiss to play for at least two more years,” he told Eurosport.

with AAP