Tennis

Nadal more impressive than Federer: Safin

Former world No. 1 Marat Safin rates Rafael Nadal over Roger Federer, as he believes that the Spaniard, 31, has had to work harder to be better than the naturally talented 36-year-old Swiss.

"Federer had everything to be successful, while Nadal is a true wrestler and worker," Safin told Live Tennis.

"He's sweating more and does not get tired. For Federer, it's all easier, though Nadal gives the impression that tennis is a simple thing for him."

The 37-year-old Russian believes that Nadal and Federer, who will end the year as world No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, will continue their dominance in 2018, even with the expected return of the 30-year-old Novak Djokovic.

Safin, who retired in 2009 when all three men were still competing, added: "Next season, Nadal and Federer will always be in the lead, and I do not see Djokovic returning to very high levels, for him it will be a difficult situation."

Federer leads the way on Grand Slam wins with 19, while Nadal sits on 16. Djokovic has 12 to his name.

Safin, a two-time Grand Slam winner, also does not expect Andy Murray, another long-term casualty, to challenge them.

However, he foresees the emergence of the next generation, led by 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev.

He said: "Alexander Zverev has so much potential... In a year or two, he will be a different player. He still sees himself as a junior, but he is no longer a junior. He has to believe in himself and keep working." - WIRE SERVICES