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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer shattered a tennis legend during their Instagram Live chat on Monday.

Photo credit: Roger Federer Foundation

Tennis legends reconvened to put one of tennis’ top legends to rest.

Iconic rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer reunited for an Instagram Live chat—and took turns questioning each other in a conversational rally.

Watch: Roger Talks Rehab With Rafa

Two champions who have made history set the record straight on a vital piece of tennis history.

How did right-handed Rafa come to play tennis left-handed in the first place?

“One thing, by the way, I wanted to ask you because it’s been bothering me it’s that you’re a lefty,” Federer told Nadal. “So that’s been a problem for me. If you are a righty why do you play lefty if you could play righty?”

Tennis Express

The 19-time Grand Slam champion suggested the notion that he’s ambidextrous or chose to play lefty is a myth.

“I cannot play righty—that’s just a legend,” Nadal told Federer. “I can write with the right hand. My basketball skills are with the right hand. All the feelings on the right—but not on a tennis court and not in football. So I’m lefty to play football and to play tennis.”

The 38-year-old Federer revealed in his youth he briefly played with two hands off both wings because he wasn't strong enough to swing father Robbie Federer's racquet at a young age before adopting his trademark one-handed backhand.

 As a young junior, Nadal played with two hands off both wings like Hall of Famer Monica Seles—and briefly served both right-handed and left-handed reminiscent of Dual Hand Luke Jensen.

“For me, the same [as you]: I started with two hands, backhands and forehands,” Nadal told Federer. “So probably because I was hitting two backhands, people didn’t know if I am lefty or righty. But I have always been lefty to play tennis.”

Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and original coach, saw his nephew favoring his left side when he hit a stinging shot—and noticed his left leg was his strong side in soccer.

Those observations led Uncle Toni to incorrectly conclude the young Rafa was left-handed.

When the king of clay was a 10-year-old junior, Toni Nadal pressed a simple point that profoundly changed the course of tennis history.

"The only thing I did was when [Rafa] was 10 years old I said: How many top players do you know play with two hands? No one. You will not be the first,” Toni Nadal recalled telling the young Rafa. “You have to play with one hand. So in this moment, he hit the forehand with left hand."

And tennis has never been the same.


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