Sports

Is there life after Federer and Nadal?

MELBOURNE: The performances of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal in reaching the final of this year's Australian Open have served a timely reminder as to what men's tennis was missing when both were sidelined last year.

But the efforts of the 17-time and 14-time grand slam champions, at least one of whom featured in all but nine of the 44 grand slam finals from 2005 to 2015, have also shown just how much the game will miss them when they're gone.

"I was already prepared in the last couple of majors and I have to say ... I didn't miss them that much," said former world number one Mats Wilander, now a commentator for Eurosport.

"Now they're back I realise, wow, how much they add. They made it look so easy, Federer's way of playing and Nadal's way of being, it's just so natural they're going to win.

"Now it's like going to see the (Rolling) Stones every night. For me it's unbelievable."
Federer, who missed the second half of last year with a knee injury, is through to his 28th grand slam final and victory on Sunday would give him a record 18th grand slam title.

Nadal, who pulled out of the French Open last summer with a left wrist injury which also forced him to miss Wimbledon, will be on the other side of the net.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, at 29 a year younger than Nadal and with fewer injuries, may be around for a while but Federer and Nadal, who have contested eight grand slam finals, are by far the most popular players on tour.

The ATP's chairman and chief executive, Chris Kermode, believes the tour is strong enough to cope.

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