Coach Ivan Ljubicic felt that Roger Federer's victory over Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final was the turning point of their rivalry. In the 2017 Australian Open final, Federer recovered from a break down in the fifth set to beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3.
After that, Federer won three of their next four meetings. Nadal owns a 24-16 head-to-head versus Federer, but the Swiss won seven of their last eight matches. “I think obviously that match in Australia changed his way of experiencing Rafa, I believe.
I think after that match he felt more and more confident that he has it on his racket, which wasn't the case against Rafa fighting for many times before that,” Ljubicic said on the The Tennis Podcast, per Sportskeeda.
“And so, I think after that match he kind of believed more and he played, you know, just tactically also a bit different.”
Ljubicic on Federer's lone defeat to Nadal after 2017
Federer and Nadal clashed four more times after the 2017 Australian Open final.
Two of those four matches were played on hard, while one was played on grass and one on clay. Nadal's lone win over Federer after 2017 came at the 2019 French Open, when he defeated the Swiss in the semifinal. “I mean, personally I know I'm a perfectionist but I'm very sorry for that semifinal at Roland Garros they played each other.
It was so windy that the match wasn't a real match, you know what I mean. So I would have, I would have wanted to see him playing Rafa on the equal terms. Not on equal terms, of course it was equal terms, but on the normal conditions,” Ljubcic explained.
“I'm not saying that he would have won, but I think it would have been fantastic match. It was already like this, but I really believe that at that stage, he believed that he could really also hurt him also in clay.
But on other surfaces, he definitely felt superior after that Australian Open and I think results obviously are showing it.”