'Nobody cares who wins anymore' was Garbine Muguruza's reaction ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's showdown in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells. The Swiss came away with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win on Wednesday (15 March), but the Spanish WTA star believes for the neutrals it is just the matter of two legends putting on a display of top quality tennis.
The rivalry between the 18-time and 14-time Grand Slam winners is one of the most exciting in the history of the game. It began with their first encounter at the third round of the Miami Masters in 2004 and continues 13 years later.
They have faced each other 36 times with Nadal holding a 23-13 advantage, but Federer has won their last three encounters. They also hold the record for playing the most number of Grand Slam finals against each other.
Their injury troubles in recent seasons raised questions if they can get back to their best level and challenge for the major titles. Federer and Nadal proved otherwise by making the final of the first Grand Slam of 2017.
Novak Djokovic described their run to the final as a massive boost to tennis and it was a chance for every fan to relive one of the greatest rivalries in a major final – perhaps for the last time. Muguruza took a similar stance and admitted that it was just a pleasure to watch the duo on court and most people did not care who won the match.
"I think nobody cares who wins anymore," Muguruza said, as quoted on tennisworldusa.org. "It's just I want to see them play, you know, (smiling). It's so good to watch them play together same time on the court. Doesn't matter. I just want to watch the match, you know. I'm so fond of both of them. It's so good they have this match tomorrow."
"They are playing well again, and, well, they are always playing well. But they are more often facing each other. There was a period of time -- they're facing a lot more now. I don't know. I'm a big fan, so it's so good.
"I think everybody is going to watch that match, honestly. Everybody likes Rafa. Everybody likes Roger. It's history over there. Going to watch, for sure," the Spaniard added.