Vilas Predicts Interesting 2014 For Federer-Nadal Rivalry
by ATP Staff|
Former World No. 2 and four-time Grand Slam champion Guillermo Vilas believes Roger Federer is a long way from hanging up his racquet and that 2014 could be an interesting year in his rivalry with Rafael Nadal.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca at his tennis academy in Mallorca, the 60-year-old Argentine said, “I know Federer well and he is not thinking of retiring. He's already done everything he had to do and now he's interested in achieving new things. Federer is going to continue because he loves playing tennis and he likes engaging with people. He has always loved achieving new things and working for them. I don't see he has any obligation to achieve anything else."
Vilas thinks that next season could be Federer’s time at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, one of only three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles Federer has failed to win. The Swiss finished runner-up for the third time this season, losing to Nadal in their 30th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.
Read: Roger vs. Rafa - The Rivalry
“I think Federer will win Rome next year,” said Vilas. “This year he reached the final and lost, but he realised that to win this tournament, you need to have time beforehand and prepare yourself well. Next year, it could be that Nadal is already thinking about Roland Garros and that would go in Roger's favour. I think that next season will be very interesting between Nadal and Federer.”
In his bio, Bud Collins described Vilas as having “the sensitivity of a poet”, and it is the same word Vilas uses when describing Federer. “Federer is the poet of tennis,” said the Buenos Aires native. “He's someone who creates, he has something very special. When you watch one of his matches, and I've seen a lot, it's like watching a work of art. He takes you back.
“He has a beautiful game and I like watching his matches because you always learn new things. Federer is a student and he has made lots of changes during his career, all based around trying to beat Nadal.”
Vilas is one of many former players who have been impressed with Nadal’s return to action in 2013. The 27-year-old Spaniard has won seven titles from 10 tournaments, including an eighth Roland Garros crown. Vilas declared that Nadal has every chance of regaining the World No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, a position he has not held since 3 July 2011, and believes that his relationship with coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, is one of the keys to the Mallorcan’s success.
“Toni is the one who steers the ship,” said Vilas. “They know each other very well and Rafa has a lot of confidence in him. Toni knows a lot about tennis and is very intelligent; Rafa trusts him implicitly.”