Throughout their careers, Roger and Rafa have approached their sport with unimaginable intensity and grit, constantly enduring the pressure of enormously high professional expectations, and equally challenging personal aspirations.
Tonight's match, while only a semi-final, carries incredible weight for both players. As Federer works to ensure his continued relevance in the top tier of the sport, Nadal is striving to recapture the element of invincibility he brought to tennis, prior to the shocking string of defeats he suffered last year at the hands of current world #1 Novak Djokovic.
Federer is on an impressive run in recent months, having not lost a match since the U.S.Open in September, and Rafa is powerful, hungry, and committed. After tonight though, only one of them will advance to the finals of the Aussie grand slam event, where they will face either Djokovic or Britain's Andy Murray, who meet in a subsequent semi-final match.
With so much at stake for both Federer and Nadal, you can be sure that emotions will run close to the surface, and tension will be high. What is less certain is who really has the edge tonight. Regardless of the outcome, we'll see two giants in tennis history deliver their absolute best tonight, giving everything and leaving nothing. If you want a tool to teach your children what it means to be a competitor or a sportsman, DVR this match.
If it sounds like I'm exaggerating (okay, I might be a little - but this is a huge night in the tennis world), take a look at this video of the very emotional trophy ceremony from the 2009 Australian Open, where four-time champion Federer lost to his career rival Nadal in the finals. It is a breathtaking example of passion, grace, and sportsmanship in action.