Rafael Nadal has congratulated his long-time adversary Roger Federer on reclaiming the world No 1 spot for the first time in over five years and believes his Swiss counterpart deserves all the credit he has received for pulling off such a "complicated achievement" in the twilight of his career.
Federer snatched the top ranking from Nadal on Friday (16 February) after progressing to the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open and in doing so became the oldest world No 1 in the sport's history, eclipsing Andre Agassi by three years.
Nadal, who will hope to leapfrog Federer when he takes part in the Mexico Open later this month, was predictably gracious when discussing the 20-time Grand Slam champion's latest achievement, which once again provides evidence of the almost immeasurable talent that has helped him become the best player the sport has ever seen, but 'The King of the Clay' does not think the sporting world needs any more reminders of Federer's boundless genius.
"Roger Federer has amply demonstrated what he is and did not need to return to No 1 to prove it," Nadal told Spanish radio station Carrusel, relayed be The Express.
"At his age he has achieved something very complicated and we must congratulate him."
Federer's remarkable Indian summer has astounded some of the tennis' greats. The eight-time Wimbledon champion believes a lighter schedule in his advancing years has helped him to prolong his dominance and thinks his fellow members of the tour should follow suit if they wish to extend their respective careers.
Nadal, who has been sadly dogged by injury problems in recent years, is all-too-aware that he and Federer will not be sitting at tennis' top table for too much longer but is hoping to savour every moment of his time left at the pinnacle of the sport he has given so much to.
"Federer and I do what we can and there will come a day that we won't be able to," Nadal added. "In the meantime, welcome, we'll give the most and see how long it lasts."