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Wimbledon | A repeat of 2008 is a mouth-watering prospect

Wimbledon | A repeat of 2008 is a mouth-watering prospect

WOULDN’T it be lovely if Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal meet in the final? That’s the question so many have been asking at Wimbledon. Even before home favourite Kyle Edmund exited.

A documentary based on the pair’s epic 2008 final, broadcast on television this week, heightened the hype.

What makes Roger and Rafa so tough to beat at Wimbledon is that, unlike a lot of Tour events, the matches go to five sets. Martina Navratilova

The clamour grew on Centre Court as holder Federer and two-time champion Nadal reached the quarter-finals with two female spectators sitting side-by-side. One was wearing a cardboard Federer mask and the other one depicting Nadal.

Among those advocating such a meeting to decide which of these perennial rivals defying the ageing process – with each being in their thirties – is Martina Navratilova.

Legend Navratilova, who set a Wimbledon record by lifting the ladies’ singles crown nine times, said: “When Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal stood either side of the net for that magical final ten years ago, none of us ever imagined there would be a repeat a decade later.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that three or four years ago I thought Roger was finished, or at least on a downward spiral from which he would never recover.

And Rafa’s game is such a punishing one that it’s quite amazing his body is still holding up, so too Roger’s, not to mention how well they’re both playing. They are phenomenal.

“Right now that looks the realistic final. Roger’s game on grass looks great and, as for Rafa, I know he hadn’t  made it past the fourth round for the past six years, but this year I think is different.

“The courts this year suit Rafa more than ever. With the dry weather England has been having, there is extra bounce on the court, which plays to his strengths. Good luck to anyone stopping  him.

“What makes Roger and Rafa so tough to beat at Wimbledon is that, unlike a lot of Tour events, the matches go to five sets.

“If they lose a set they know they can get back into any contest. Few players have more experience of five-setter at the Slams.

“What also united them is the fact that, even after ten years after that wonderful final, they still have the same hunger for the game and they still show their utter love for it.”

Speaking to the London Evening Standard,  Navratilova added: “In truth, we all want that Roger-Rafa final.  How great it would be to see them battling it out on Centre Court ten years on.”

Nine-time winner Federer has to contend with South African Kevin Anderson for a place in the semi-finals on Wednesday, while Nadal meets the victor of Juan Martin del Potro and Gilles  Simon






About The Author

Mike Donovan

Mike Donovan is a journalist and author who has covered tennis for more than 20 years. He was tennis correspondent on Today, the first all-electronic, all-colour newspaper, and contributed to the official Wimbledon website. He has scribed for most national dailies and magazines on the sport of the fuzzy green ball, as the late Bud Collins used to describe tennis. Mike has twice won British Sports Writer of the Year awards. He is the author of a variety of football books and has one coming out on Pitch Publishing in September called ‘Glory Glory Lane’, about the 118-year history of Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

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