This will make it their 36th installment of their historic rivalry.
“Very excited,” Federer said of his rematch with Nadal. “I said it at the press conference in the beginning. That’s why I came here, play against guys like Rafa. Now we have it. I’m going to be excited now. Better be excited now. Otherwise I came for the wrong reasons.”
The match is a rematch of the Australian Open final in which Federer fought back from a 1-3 deficit in the fifth set to defeat Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 last month.
When Nadal was asked what makes a Swiss stylist so special he smiled and said “everything”, Federer is exceptional at making the demanding shot look easy.
“He has the talent to do very difficult things that looks easy,” Nadal said. “He’s able to take the ball very early, serve and first shot.
“And then he’s able to take the ball always from inside, and he’s very quick going to the net. If you play short ball, then you know that he is going to go inside and going to hit a winner, going to play a shot that hit forehand or backhand, go to the net, and you are going to be in big trouble.”
“I mean, Australia helps me a little bit, but, you know, at the end of the day, I’m still in the comeback,” Federer said. “And I try to see it really as another opportunity to build upon something for the rest of the season. So regardless of Australia, winning or losing, I’m going to try to go out there and try to play free again. I think it’s really important.
“I’m really happy that I got my energy back, because in Dubai I was actually still quite tired. I feel if I move well, you know, I will definitely have a chance against Rafa.”