Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will clash for the title at Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2013 on Sunday, the 19th May, 2013. It will be their 30th meeting. Nadal leads the rivalry 19-10. Federer has had an impressive tournament so far not losing even a set to any of his opponents. Nadal was mostly seen in his grinding mode, running and retrieving balls from all corners except in the first set of semi-final clash against Tomas Berdych. The result of the match will have bearing to the significance of the clash in the eyes of the contestants.
Rafael Nadal has little to prove against his illustrious rival. His desire would be to get the fourth ranking at Roland Garros. If Andy Murray withdraws, as was the indication when he retired in his very first match citing back injury, Nadal becomes the fourth seed. However, Nadal’s team has worked hard to explain to the unbelieving that he is not the favourite for the title at the French Open. This effort has come to naught with Nadal reaching all the finals on return from injury. Whether this match could be another opportunity to renew their own broadcast depends on how much give and take they can trade in this transaction. In all probability, Nadal is unlikely to be seen in the same mode as he was in the first set against Berdych.
As regards Federer, he has little to prove to the world. Even his lopsided head-to-head results with Nadal fail to motivate him since he will have to live with it. His achievements with the rest of the field are too good to worry for any criticism. However, in his subconscious mind, he must have thought over the strategy to counter the forehand-to-backhand disadvantage against a top spinning left hander that has taken the single fisted backhand further towards oblivion. The slice does not work as effectively since Nadal has little difficulty in scooping up with a top spin forehand. It does work against majority including Novak Djokovic. Federer takes such tournaments as preparation to the Grand Slam majors and is unlikely to injure himself going the whole hog for the sake of proving nothing to the tennis world. One will not see him playing above 100%.
The match could turn out to be a match between a subdued Nadal and an efficient Federer where the outcome either way will not convince the audience to change their views. If Federer wins, it would be called an upset without fortifying him as the main contender for the title at the Roland Garros. However, Nadal goes into the finals with the weight of an overwhelming head-to-head advantage in his favour.