I am really surprised that Federer lost to Nadal. Rafael Nadal is the 2nd best Tennis Pro in the World, With Roger Federer being the first. Here is a full list of the top 100 Tennis Pros.
(From NY Times- By Christopher Clarey, Published July 7, 2008 )
No one had beaten Federer at Wimbledon since 2002. In near darkness (The match took way, waaaaay longer than it was supposed to) one of the greatest Tennis Matches ever played. It concluded with Roger Federer hitting a short Forehand into the Net, and with a victorious Rafael Nadal flat on his back with camera flashes everywhere!
At 4 hours 48 minutes, it was the longest singles final in Wimbledon’s 131-year history and did not finish until 9:16 p.m. local time.
“The most important thing is to win the title,” said Nadal, who won, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. “After that, you think about winning against the No. 1, probably the best player in history or close, and the fact it was so dramatic. But it’s one of the most powerful feelings I’ve had in my life.”
By the end, as hard as it was to see, the top-seeded Federer and the second-seeded Nadal had produced so much brilliant tennis under pressure that it seemed the most normal thing in the world that Federer smacked yet another ace to get out of trouble or that Nadal hunted down yet another sharply angled ground stroke and ripped an off-balance passing shot for a winner.
The capacity crowd at Centre Court, which had not diminished through two rain delays, continually roared with delight or surprise and took turns chanting each combatant’s first name, which is not the way these things usually work at proper Wimbledon.
“Probably my hardest loss, by far; I mean it’s not much harder than this right now,” Federer said later, his voice muted and his eyes red.
The loss kept Federer from matching the men’s record of six consecutive Wimbledon titles set by Britain’s William Renshaw in the 19th century. Federer had won 65 straight matches on grass.
“I’m disappointed, and I’m crushed,” Federer said. “He played a super match, and I’m sure it was a great match to watch and to play, but it’s all over now. I need some time.”
Federer, 26, earned himself more time on Centre Court by saving two match points in the fourth-set tie breaker. He was later only two points from victory himself with Nadal serving at 4-5, 30-all in the fifth set. But Nadal, like his opponent, has a remarkable will as well as a remarkable topspin forehand.
And although Federer kept chipping and ripping away at Nadal’s service games, he broke him just once in the match, and that was early in the second set. In all, Federer squandered 12 of 13 break-point opportunities.
Nadal, a Spaniard whose serve was once considered his weakness, converted 4 of his 13 chances against Federer, none more important than the break that came when Federer, serving at 7-7 in the fifth, took a huge cut at a short forehand and knocked it just long.
Nadal, seldom short of positive energy, leapt with delight and hustled to his chair to prepare to serve for the championship. It was 9:10 p.m. in London when he walked to the baseline, and the light was so dim at the end of this intermittently rainy day that both players were concerned.
“I almost couldn’t see who I was playing,” Federer said, shaking his head.
Nadal agreed. “In the last game, I didn’t see nothing,” he said. “Was unbelievable. I thought we have to stop.”
Wimbledon’s organizers have pushed their sessions to the limit this year, with other matches finishing at 9:30 p.m. Not finishing on Sunday would have forced the tournament to extend to Monday, with all the logistical challenges that would have entailed.
“It would have been brutal for fans, for media, for us, for everybody to come back tomorrow, but what are you going to do?” Federer said. “It’s rough on me now, obviously, to lose the biggest tournament in the world over maybe a bit of light.”
(From St. Paul Pioneer Press- By Michelle Kaufman, Published July 7, 2008 )
WIMBLEDON, England — The All-England Club had been Roger Federer’s castle for the past five years and its manicured lawn his personal playground. Sunday night, under the fading evening light, the elegant Swiss No. 1 had his crown swiped by No. 2 Rafael Nadal, a swashbuckling Spaniard in pirate pants, in the longest and most extraordinary Wimbledon final in history.
When the epic match was over, when Nadal had dethroned the five-time defending champion in a match that spanned nearly seven hours, he fell flat onto his back in exhilaration and exhaustion.
He then climbed into the stands to hug his family, grabbed a Spanish flag, and shook hands with Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain, who were sitting in the Royal Box. And then, he sobbed. And sobbed some more.
Any spectator who sat through the four-hour, 48-minute final (nearly seven hours if you count the three rain delays) would understand why the muscle man from Majorca needed a release after his 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-7 (10-8), 9-7 marathon. The exquisite match was tense from start to finish, as the world’s two best players put on a dizzying display of power and grace, angled shots that kissed the court’s corners, and remarkable mental fortitude.
Even the non-tennis fans who happened to tune in had to know they were seeing something very special.
Veteran tennis journalist Bud Collins has covered 41 Wimbledon finals. He said this was the best. Without question.
“It had everything, and it took your breath away,” Collins said. “It had guys saving match points, saving set points, coming back at each other over and over, like boxers. No visible nerves. You’d think one player would let down after so much time on the court, but it never happened. It was such high-quality tennis. I always thought Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe in 1980 was No. 1, but this was better.”
McEnroe, who was in the NBC broadcast booth, also called it “the best match I’ve ever seen.”
It was the Wimbledon final every fan wanted — No. 1 vs. No. 2. Swiss precision vs. Spanish machismo. Cardigan sweater vs. muscle shirt. Or, as NBC’s Mary Carillo called it: “Ali vs. Frazier on grass.”
The fans got their money’s worth — and then some. This was, truly, a match neither man deserved to lose, and the Center Court crowd didn’t want it to end.
“It’s impossible to describe what I am feeling,” Nadal said. “I’m just very, very happy to win this title, my favorite tournament. It’s a dream for me to play in this court. I never imagined this. But congratulate Roger because he always fights unbelievable. His attitude is excellent when he wins and when he loses. His attitude is good for tennis.
“Roger is still No. 1. He’s still the best. He’s still fivetime champion here and right now I have one, so for me it’s a very, very important day.”
It was the latest finish for a men’s final. It was 9:16 p.m. local time when Federer netted a forehand on Nadal’s fourth championship point, sealing the win for the Spaniard. Unlike other tournaments, which are allowed to be decided on tiebreakers, Wimbledon rules say fifth sets must be played out until one player beats the other by two games.
Had the match gone much longer, it would have been suspended and pushed to today because of darkness because Center Court has no lights. Both players said they could barely see the ball in the latter stages of the match.
“In the last game, I didn’t see anything,” Nadal said. “It was unbelievable. I thought we have to stop. If I lost the last game, for sure we would have stopped.”
How close was this match? After four hours of play, Federer had won 174 points, and Nadal had won 172. The biggest difference was that Federer didn’t capitalize on 12 of 13 break-point chances.
“I tried everything, but look, Rafa’s a deserving champion,” said Federer, who had won 65 matches in a row on grass before Sunday, including 40 in a row at Wimbledon. “He just played fantastically. A pity I couldn’t win it under the circumstances, but I’ll be back next year.”
Federer was attempting to become the first player since the 1880s to win six consecutive Wimbledons. Nadal becomes the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back. Borg watched Sunday’s match from the front row of the Royal Box.
It was the sixth time the world’s top two players met in a Grand Slam final. Nadal has won all three French Open finals over Federer, and Federer had won the past two Wimbledon titles over Nadal. Despite their rivalry, the two players share mutual respect for each other, talk soccer in the locker room, and have even discussed playing doubles.
“I am happy for me, but sorry for Roger because he deserves the title, too,” Nadal said.
But Federer wasn’t ready to rank the match among the greatest in history.
“Probably later in life, I’ll say, ‘That was a great match,’ but right now, it’s not a feel-good thing. I’m happy we lived up to expectations. I’m happy with the way I fought, but it was the hardest loss in my career. In tennis, unfortunately, there has to be winners and losers. No draws.”
Here are some pictures of both Roger and Rafael.
Rafael Nadal hitting a powerful backhand
Nadal, very happy with the Victory Trophy
Roger and Rafael playing Tennis
Nadal celebrated his victory with Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain
Nadal, right after Federer hit the forehand into the Net
Federer, with the Runner’s Up Trophy
Roger Federer hitting a forehand
Nadal… either really happy or really mad about something….. I can’t really tell
At least the two are good sports!
Playing that much Tennis apparently makes you sweat so much that a small hand-size towel isn’t enough; you need a Winbledon beach towel
Nadal, after first picking up the trophy
Nadal’s backswing…. I think
Pictures courtesy of the NY Times