New Delhi: One of the most intriguing questions which continues to haunt sports fans and critics alike is choosing the better player between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Probably putting an to the riddle, the Swiss maestro recently admitted that he could never maintain a complete stranglehold over the Spaniard, at least at the French Open.
Federer described the Spaniard as his greatest rival, said that "never quite good enough to beat him at the French".
"Sometimes I was outplayed, sometimes I was close, but never quite good enough to beat him at the French. But I never lost hope or faith that it could happen," Federer was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Nadal, regarded as the greatest clay court player ever, made the Roland Garros event his own, winning it for a record ninth time in 2014.
Federer's only triumph at Paris came in 2009 after defeating Robin Soderling, who defeated Nadal in the semi-final. Federer lost four French Open finals to Nadal.
"For me, he has been (the greatest rival). It could still change if I play Novak another few times in bigger matches. Novak and I have obviously had really big matches, but somehow the match-up with Rafa will always stay unique - because of the Wimbledon final in 2008," said the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
While referring to the epic 2008 Wimbledon final, which is being widely regarded as one of the greatest matches in the history of tennis, Federer revealed that he has found Nadal tougher to play than anybody, even Novak Djokovic.
"He's a lefty - all that spin, we've not seen spin like that before. I had to change so many things to match him," Federer said.
Nadal eventually triumphed, beating Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7 in a grueling contest that lasted four hours and 48 minutes.
The Spaniard leads their twelve-years-old rivalry with an overall head-to-head record of 23-11.