Federer feels ‘strange’ being in Wimbledon final, 16 years after first

Florence Fletcher
July 14, 2019

The last time that both men met at Centre Court of the All England Club was in the 2008 final when Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in the fifth set of one of the greatest matches in tennis history to win his first Wimbledon title.

The only thing that mattered to the 20-time Grand Slam champion was that, unlike in his last grasscourt duel with Rafael Nadal 11 years ago, he had won the "crazy last game" which sealed his passage into a 12th Wimbledon final.

Federer hasn't beaten Djokovic in a major final since 2007 in NY, but will carry renewed confidence into Sunday's showdown after upstaging Nadal for only the fourth time in 14 grand slam encounters. After the match the Spaniard expressed his disappointment at failing to reach another Slam final.

The 37-year-old, on the other hand, dropped the first set he played, to unheralded Lloyd Harris in the first round.

Nadal carried that momentum with him and broke again two games later before serving out the set and levelling the match up after nearly 90 minutes on court.

So next for Roger will be Novak Djokovic who outclassed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Remarkably the Serb's 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 success was the 12th victory in his last 13 grand slam semi-finals and he is now one win away from his fifth title at Wimbledon and 16th grand slam singles crown as he resumes his great rivalry with the Swiss. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a victor that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder.

Novak Djokovic during his semi-final match. He held his first two service games without dropping a point.

After striking a attractive backhand victor down the line on the 45th shot of Wimbledon's longest ever rally, Novak Djokovic asks the crowd to turn up the volume and get on their feet.

It was his 36th career appearance in the final four at a major tournament - and the debut in that round for Bautista Agut, who was seeded 23rd.

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Djokovic won the first set 6-2, but Bautista Agut broke for a 2-1 lead in the second.

With Novak Djokovic also through to final two, Sunday's final is set to be a scorcher. "I had enough support here over the years, so I don't complain", Djokovic said afterward.

Nadal then broke again for 5-1 as Federer suffered a sudden and severe power outage with the two-time champion comfortable levelling the contest.

"It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially haven't played in so long", said Federer.

The previous Wimbledon record was 42 strokes, set in a 2006 match between Jarkko Nieminen and Dmitry Tursunov.

These days, given their respective ages, you can't help but think 'is this the last time?' when Federer and Nadal take the court together.

"From that standpoint I can go into that match very confident".

"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", said Nadal, who was also beaten in the semi-finals past year by Djokovic.

Roberto Bautista Agut, 31, had to scrap his plans in Ibiza this weekend when he made it through to the final four - which he never expected to do.

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