Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in the fifth round of the Laver Cup in London on Friday night. It was Roger’s last match of his career, ending his tennis career and leading to retirement. Roger and Rafa have played many memorable matches on the tour, and one of the best came in the 2008 Wimbledon final.
Nadal’s breakthrough in Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007 saw Federer ready for another assault in 2008 after his fourth Roland Garros crown.
Nadal and Federer are favorites at the All England Club and have overcome six hurdles to reach their third straight final. Since 2003, Roger has won 40 consecutive victories at the Tennis Cathedral, beating Nadal in an unforgettable 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 in four hours and 48 minutes!
Thus, after turning 22 years old, Rafa added his fifth major and became the first player since Bjorn Borg to win the “Channel Slam”. Nadal held a five-point advantage over Federer in a thrilling battle, saving 12 of 13 break opportunities and saving four breaks to set up one of the most memorable moments in tennis history.
Rafa tied the five-time champion to four shots short, which was crucial to his success. The Spaniard improved his first ball to reach Roger’s level and produced some impressive tennis in which he suffered only one break in those breaks.
Nadal moved in front in the opening third game and survived a scare at 5-4 to fend off two break opportunities and earn the opener. Federer won 4-1 at number two before breaking for 4-2.
Rafael Nadal In 2008, he eliminated Roger Federer after a epic battle at Wimbledon.
With a goal on his side, Rafa grabbed another break with a forehand winner at 4-4. He served for the set in the next game and held off an opportunity to move two sets in front to love and close to the finish line.
Like a true champion, Roger fought back in third and fourth and won a strong fourth-set break from 5-2 down to force the decider and gain momentum. In the fifth game of the final, the players left the court due to rain and returned after half an hour to continue their amazing match.
Roger made a break with a 4-3 line winner down the stretch. Nadal stayed calm and denied him with a stunning forehand before finding a winner to make it 4-4. At 5-5, Rafa had two break chances, missed a line winner and failed to convert.
The match went the distance and the Spaniard got a crucial break after a forehand error made by the Swiss at 7-7. In the 16th game, Rafa hit a service winner and moved over the top following Roger’s forehand error.
“For me, the 2008 Wimbledon final was one of the most emotional of my life. Losing in the 2007 final really hurt me, and I thought I would never get another chance to fight for the title at the All England Club. I went back to the final a year later, and it was great fun.
It had everything, and those who saw it on TV do not know how dark it was in the last two games; Roger and I were at the limit,” said Rafael Nadal.