World Number two, Rafael Nadal sets up the fourth encounter at Wimbledon with his nemesis Roger Federer and he eyes to achieve his third title at All England Club. Rafa has made it to the Wimbledon finals four times and he regards his 2007 and 2008 final matches to be close to his heart out of all the matches he played at the grass-court major from his past 13 appearances.
“We played a lot of good matches. Here in this tournament, we played two great finals, 2007 and 2008. Have been two emotional matches. Personally, 2008 was a little bit more emotional for me. But I appreciate the fact that I was part of 2007, too. Then we played a lot of matches all around the world,” Rafael Nadal shared.
The duo of tennis gods played their second gentlemen’s finals between each other at Wimbledon in 2007, as Roger Federer as the unprecedented ‘King of Grass’ equaled Borg Bjorn’s record of Wimbledon titles by defeating Rafa for the second straight time in the British lawn.
The last time the present ‘Big Three’ of tennis was in the last four round of Wimbledon was during Wimbledon 2007 and back then, Novak Djokovic was Slam-less. Twelve years later, the trio again forms the semifinal lineup of Wimbledon 2019.
Undeniably, Wimbledon 2008 finals is the most revered battles in the history of tennis. That year, Rafa bit his first ever non-Roland-Garros Slam. Rafa’s 6–4, 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 9–7 victory had snapped the 65 match-winning-streak of the Swiss on the grass and the young Rafael Nadal in 2008 was perceived to be a threat for Federer’s dominance on the ATP Tour.
He not just denied the sixth straight Wimbledon title of Federer on his own battlefield, a few weeks later, the Spaniard had knocked him out from the summit of ATP Rankings, where Roger Federer had dwelled for 237 consecutive weeks.
As John McEnroe once said, “He (Federer) was on a path of utter domination before Nadal showed up. When he started losing to Rafa, it made him more human.” Rafa’s uphill journey on the tour did jeopardize Roger’s career to an extent, but simultaneously, it brought out the best tennis within the boy from Basel.
Wimbledon’s Centre Court witnessed Pete Sampras acing records with his racquet, but the dawn of Roger Federer on the green British turf in Wimbledon 2001, certainly remarked the dusk of Sampras in his adobe, as the SW19 eminence of the American was redefined by the Swiss maestro in the later years.
Despite, the advent of the aggressive lefty, Rafael Nadal and he taking the lead in their head to head tally, nothing has ceased Federer from becoming a paranormal wave on the grass courts, but in a way, Rafa has become a hindrance for Roger as he obstructs the 20-time Grand Slam champion from raising the bars of his own records on the grass courts.
Both of them know each other’s games inside out and their episode number 40 at ‘Mecca of Tennis’ is expected to undergo another Centre Court rapture on Friday. Federer plans to adopt an offensive style of tennis for the semifinals, and Rafa’s two defensive weapons are expected to absorb Roger’s aggression.
In his road to the semifinals, the third seed, Rafael Nadal wrestled against Nick Kyrios in the second round. He had easy wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Joao Sousa, then dispatched the big server, Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon Championships 2019.