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Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer Wimbledon 2008 final: Are the two legends destined to repeat famous Wimbledon final 10 years later?

  • Ten years ago Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played out arguably the greatest match in tennis history in the 2008 Wimbledon final
  • A decade later and the pair are on course to meet in the 2018 Wimbledon final
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after their epic 2008 Wimbledon final (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It was 10 years ago when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer contested what is widely considered as the greatest tennis match of all time in the 2008 Wimbledon final - could we possibly see an encore of that magical day at The Championships in this year’s title match?


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With the way everything is playing out in men’s tennis these days, it would probably be more shocking if it didn’t happen at this point. Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic certainly have the ability to stop Nadal in his tracks from the bottom half of the draw, but the Spaniard appears in great shape at the moment and the conditions are working to his favour. Meanwhile, it’s looking increasingly likely that nobody is going to be beating Federer in the top half.

Let’s start with the defending champion and eight-time Wimbledon winner. Federer’s form in the lead-up to The Championships was questionable, especially in Halle, but he’s barely broken sweat in three straightforward victories over the first week - and with Federer 5-0 against R16 rival Adrian Mannarino, he’s likely to cruise again into the quarter-finals. Kevin Anderson or Gael Monfils won’t provide much of a test if history is to go by in the quarter-finals, while one of Milos Raonic, John Isner, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Mackenzie McDonald will be waiting in the semis. If Federer loses to any of them, it will easily surpass Marin Cilic falling to Guido Pella as the biggest upset of Wimbledon 2018.

Nadal falls to the floor in celebration after beating Federer in 2008 (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Nadal’s path to the final isn’t as smooth. In fact, relatively speaking, it’s as rocky as it could possibly get after a fourth round with Jiri Vesely. Assuming del Potro makes it past the tricky Gilles Simon, the Argentine certainly has the weapons to take down Nadal on grass. Equipped with a booming serve and lethal groundstrokes, del Potro is a more accomplished version of the likes of Lukas Rosol, Nick Kyrgios, Dustin Brown and Gilles Muller - the players who have stunned Nadal at Wimbledon over the years. And if Nadal does survive that test, a resurgent Djokovic could be waiting in the semi-finals.

However, one thing in Nadal’s favour this year is the conditions. The weather has been consistently hovering around the 30C mark in London, meaning the courts are dry and the bounce is high. Add in the natural wear and tear of the grass in the second week, and these Wimbledon courts will be playing extremely slow and high-bouncing by the quarter and semi-finals - in essence, playing more like a clay-court and thus suiting Nadal to a tee.



Nadal and Federer haven’t played at Wimbledon since that magical final in 2008 - mostly due to Nadal only making it past the fourth round twice since - but following the pair’s extraordinary resurgence last year, combining to win all four Grand Slams, and their constant back-and-forth for the No. 1 ranking in 2018 (as well as splitting the Australian and French Opens), it seems like destiny for the pair to clash a decade on from their most memorable meeting.

As we know, Nadal managed to dethrone Federer that day, ending a run of five straight Wimbledon titles for the Swiss in dramatic fashion, prevailing 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(8) 9-7 as darkness began to engulf Centre Court due to earlier rain delays that ultimately stretched the final out to over seven hours.

Both appeared as if they would never return to the pinnacle of the sport at various stages over the last couple of years due to injuries, but Federer and Nadal have defied the odds (as champions tend to do) and combined for the last six Grand Slam titles. It would only be fitting if they squared off once again for the biggest title in tennis, 10 years on from creating a piece of everlasting tennis history.


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Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer Wimbledon 2008 final: Are the two legends destined to repeat famous Wimbledon final 10 years later?

It was 10 years ago when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer contested what is widely considered as the greatest tennis match of all time in the 2008 Wimbledon final - could we possibly see an encore of that magical day at The Championships in this year’s title match?

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