The Rafa-Roger show behind the mike

The Rafa-Roger show behind the mike

They are known to bring the house down in their on-court face-offs, but tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal showed that they could do exactly the same with just a mike in front of them.

Addressing a joint press conference at the end of the International Premier Tennis League's India leg, the two contemporary legends of the game were jovial and sharp-witted, sending down some verbal aces while engaging in light-hearted banter.


Sitting between the two during the interaction was IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi, who had a good time laughing along with the media.

Federer was the more vocal of the two but when it came to answering a question on pressure, he stumped Nadal by passing it on to him.

"Go ahead Rafa, I am too nervous sitting here so I prefer Rafa to break the ice," Federer said, leaving Nadal wide-eyed in surprise.

"Well! I am always so cold talking in English," was a grinning Nadal's hurriedly-thought response to which, Federer said, "It's such a joy for me to listen to it."

The playful exchange was met with more laughter and some applause as well before Nadal brought some order back by speaking about how competitive the two are no matter which part of the world they are playing.

"We tried our best, we played with our heart and we played our best tennis that we had today. We cannot say we are playing under pressure here, we have fans. I am really excited about the week I had in the IPTL and I cannot wait to come back next year," said Nadal on a more serious note, describing the IPTL face-off between the two in which he came out trumps in a shootout.

Federer though had a different take on the IPTL format, where a clutch of five different one-set games are played between two teams in a round-robin set-up.

"It's a strange kind of pressure because you have just one set, you are worried to just get a blow at 6-1, you know, you are not even in the match but it's over and then you are like, that was your only chance by the way. But now you can go home and think about it, think about it for a year. So I was worried coming in because this was my first match back," said Federer.

"We are actually both very happy that the match went the distance and we had more tennis to play," he added.

The next laugh-out-loud moment came when a question was asked on just why they have not had any of their showdowns at the US Open so far.

"The blame is on me, I messed up one time on match point. He was waiting (in the final), I hope next year may be," said Federer referring to the 2010 US Open in which he lost a gruelling semifinal to Novak Djokovic.

"Actually, it is twice," interjected Nadal, referring to the two match points Federer frittered away in the clash.

"I didn't want to say that Rafa," Federer responded before adding, "but yeah I messed up. The blame is on me."

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