Madrid - Spain's world No 1 Rafael Nadal says he prefers to play against his main rival Roger Federer of Switzerland, who he defeated during the final of the 2011 French Open earlier this month.
"It is clear that the matches against Federer are always of great intensity. When I have a final against him, I feel something special and I imagine people feel the same," he said in an interview published Sunday in Spanish daily ABC.
"I have always liked Federer. I think the good thing about both of us is that we have always known how to lose as well as win. He is a gentleman."
Either Nadal, 25, or Federer, 29, has held the world's No 1 ranking since February 2, 2004, the longest two-man stranglehold since the rankings began in 1973.
The left-handed Spaniard won a record-equalling sixth French Open title with a dramatic a 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-1 win over Federer on June 5.
Federer last beat Nadal in a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2007. The win in Paris extended Nadal's head-to-head record against the right-hander to 17-8.
The prospect of a fourth Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer moved a step closer on Saturday as the two rivals cruised into the last 16.