Federer avoided a scare in his opening Dubai Championships victory this evening by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
The Swiss star will meet Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the second round on Wednesday.
When previewing that match Federer spoke about how he adjusts his game to playing left-handed players.
But he could not resist bringing up Nadal, who is also a lefty, and he warned the pair he is no longer scared.
“I don’t fear the lefties anymore like I did in my teenage years, so that’s good,” Federer said.
“I think that’s because I was able to improve my game.
“Every player tries to play to your weakness or tries to make you play bad. No different with Verdasco.
“I’ve played a few other lefties in the past, as well.
“I always thought it was hard to play left-handed servers because their strength goes into your weakness, your strength goes to — I don’t know.
“It just doesn’t work properly against the lefties.
“For a one-handed backhand player, I have a great record against left-handed players.
“Obviously Rafa has caused me the most problems throughout. That’s because of the level of play he’s able to achieve.”
Federer also highlighted the main danger he thinks Verdasco will bring to the court when the pair go toe-to-toe.
“I think he’s got one of those wonderful forehands on the [ATP] Tour. We’ve seen the great shot-making he has been able to produce over the course of his career,” Federer added.
“I’m happy that he’s still going. I think he’s a good player. He can definitely peak against the top guys.
“I think that’s why he’s still playing, for those kinds of matches, so I have to be careful.”