Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play match on floating court IN the Persian Gulf

Posted on 12:34 PM by Sameer Shah

When tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer face each other, the last thing you want is for rain to stop play.

But in their latest clash, a flooded court was unavoidable - it took place on a floating platform on a lagoon in Qatar.

Federer of Spain took on his Swiss rival, the world No 1, on the specially made stage in Doha ahead of the Qatar Open, which marks the start of the tennis calendar.

They have 25 Grand Slam titles between them, though 29-year-old Federer, older by five years, has won 16 - the male record.

The Swiss star will be looking to bounce back from a string of Grand Slam defeats in 2010 while his biggest rival Nadal is hoping to resume the dominant form that saw him capture the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.

Spectators can expect to see much of the pair in 2011, starting with the tournament held in Doha, the Qatari capital, which begins today.

Last year, Russian Nikolay Davydenko came from a set down to defeat Nadal 0-6, 7-6, 6-4. And the year before that, Great British hope Andy Murray took the crown.

A taste of the Nadal-Federer rivalry was also on display in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, when Nadal edged Federer 7-6, 7-6 to defend his title at the invitational World Tennis Championships.

Before leaving for Doha, Federer said he saw Abu Dhabi and Doha as a chance to try out new shots.

He added that he was looking forward to resuming his duel with Nadal that will get its first big test at the Australian Open where the Swiss player is the defending champion.

'It's a special Australian Open with me being the defending champion,' Federer said.

'Obviously the focus is going to be on the two of us. Tennis is really going to be exciting down in Australia.'

Nadal said he doesn't feel any pressure ahead of this year's Australian Open, even though a tournament victory there would make him the first man to win four major titles in a row since Rod Laver pulled off a calendar Grand Slam by claiming all four in 1969.

'It's not extra pressure, for me it's extra motivation,' said Nadal, who lost in the Doha final last year to Russian Nikolay Davydenko.

'The pressure is every day to play well and keep winning matches and I don't think (about) winning the Australian Open immediately,' Nadal said.

'You never know what's going to happen since it's going to be a very difficult tournament.'

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