PARIS (AP) — The French Open semifinal between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal comes 15 years after their first match against each other.
For tennis’ sake, maybe this won’t be their last meeting with a lot on the line. Given that Federer is 37 and Nadal 33, who knows?
Then again, why write either of these guys off now?
They’ve faced off 38 times in all, and even if it’s not been the most-played men’s rivalry in the half-century of professional tennis — it’s third, trailing Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic (54), and Federer vs. Djokovic (47) — it sure is tough to top in terms of significance, storylines and contrasting styles.
Friday’s showdown will be the sixth installment of Roger vs. Rafa at Roland Garros, always in a semifinal or final, but first there since 2011. Not coincidentally, that was also the last time the top four seeded men were the last four in the draw in Paris. After No. 2 Nadal and No. 3 Federer finish (weather permitting, of course; the forecast called for rain), they’ll be followed in Court Philippe Chatrier by No. 1 Djokovic against No. 4 Dominic Thiem.
The guys ranked 1-4 hadn’t been the last quartet at any tour event since the 2012 Australian Open, a span of…