Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer reveal the sporting icons who inspired them

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have named some of the sporting icons they took inspiration from early in their tennis careers.

The two men both identified tennis legend Pete Sampras, while Nadal mentioned a soccer legend and Federer selected two basketball icons.

The legendary duo reunited for French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton’s Core Values ​​ad campaign in a video titled: “There are journeys that turn into legends.” The two discussed a range of topics, with the video filmed in Italy’s Dolomites mountain range.

Federer and Nadal, who faced each other 40 times over a 15-year period from 2004 to 2019, formed one of the most iconic and greatest rivalries of all time. Nadal finished with a 24-16 advantage, after leading 23-10 and 6-1, while Federer won six of the duo’s last seven meetings.

The Spaniard has won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, the most recent being at the 2022 French Open, while Federer – who retired in 2022 – won his 20th and final major at the Australian Open 2018. The two legends teamed up in doubles for Federer’s final match at the 2022 Laver Cup in London.

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Nadal, a big Real Madrid supporter, expressed his admiration for legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo, while highlighting the impact of his coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya, a former world number 1.

“I’m a big fan of sports in general,” Nadal said. “First of all, sport itself is an inspiration for me. I love football, so for me growing up, Ronaldo Nazario was a big inspiration. And then I had the chance to spend time with him.

“But as a tennis player, for me, Sampras was a good inspiration. But Carlos Moya, he’s my coach today, he was right next to me and yes, I think in a way he helped me a lot when I arrived on the tour.

Besides NBA greats Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, Federer named tennis legend Stefan Edberg, one of his former coaches.

“I mean, I loved basketball growing up too,” Federer said. “So, clearly, Michael Jordan and then also Shaquille O’Neal, I admired. I thought it was just the most fun and coolest sport ever.

“I mean, obviously the tennis players, with Stefan Edberg and then also Pete Sampras, special people in my life. Stefan Edberg also coached me for two years. So it was obviously super special.

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