Coach Ivan Ljubicic felt that Roger Federer’s win over Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final was the turning point in their rivalry. In the 2017 Australian Open final, Federer recovered from a break in the fifth set to beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3.
After that, Federer won three of their next four meetings. Nadal has a 24-16 head-to-head against Federer, but the Swiss has won seven of his last eight matches. «I think obviously that match in Australia changed his way of experiencing Rafa, I think.
I think after that match he felt more and more confident that he had it on his racket, which was not the case against Rafa who fought many times before that,» Ljubicic said on The Tennis Podcast, according to Sportskeeda.
«So, I think after that match he believed more and played, you know, tactically also a little bit differently.»
Ljubicic on Federer’s only loss to Nadal after 2017
Federer and Nadal met four more times after the 2017 Australian Open final.
Two of those four matches were played on hard courts, while one was played on grass and one on clay. Nadal’s only victory over Federer after 2017 came at the 2019 French Open, when he defeated the Swiss in the semi-final. “I mean, I personally know that I am a perfectionist, but I am very sorry about that semi-final at Roland Garros that they played against each other.
It was so windy that the match was not a real match, you know what I mean. So I would have wanted to see him playing Rafa on equal terms. Not on equal terms, of course it was on equal terms, but under normal conditions,» Ljubcic explained.
«I’m not saying he would have won, but I think it would have been a fantastic match. It was already like that, but I really think at that stage, he believed he could really hurt him on clay as well.»
But on other surfaces, he definitely felt superior after the Australian Open and I think the results are obviously showing that.»