Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Chris Evert makes comparison

Andy Murray is all smiles during the Rally For Bally event

Andy Murray is all smiles during the Rally For Bally event

The 2009 victor Nadal pulled out of the Brisbane International warmup with a thigh strain, raising fears about his campaign at Melbourne Park after his 2018 season ended early with ankle surgery and an abdominal injury.

Both paid tribute to the former world number one on the eve of the year's first Grand Slam with Federer adding that the Scot should be "incredibly proud" of what he had achieved.

Nadal was forced to retire hurt in the fifth set of last year's quarter-final against eventual finalist Marin Cilic, eight years after pulling out midway through his last-eight clash against Murray with a knee injury.

"I always had good relationship with him", said Nadal. He's a great champion, he's a friend of mine that I grew up with.

"I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we're going to lose him at some point", Federer told reporters.

"I have a lot of places that are very special to me, thankfully".

"Yeah, of course is very bad news", Nadal said of Murray's tearful news conference the previous day. "But, of course, there is periods of time that you don't see the light".

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" After so many years competing at the top level, to then feel you have a limitation that does not let you do what you want to do, it is a daily agony that makes you want to give up for your physical and mental health."

Many have remarked that Murray was unlucky to come up during a time when guys like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were dominating the scene, but Federer doesn't agree with that viewpoint.

"I mean, he won Wimbledon, he won the Olympics, became world No1". "But I know that it's likely that I won't and it's going to be uncomfortable. But he's 31 - 10 years ago, if he retired at 31, we will say he had a great and very long career", Nadal said. "I don't know if it's ever going to get better than that, because that was it for me".

Federer has credited improvements in travel, in nutrition and in life balance for giving modern tennis players the ability to extend their careers well into their 30s.

"I feel like he left everything out there". There was never any doubts there.

"I have been improving the service during all these years, but I'm at an advanced age in my career, so I need to add something else, or at least try".

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