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Roger vs Rafa: the best slam final ever?

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06.07.2020|11:30 Uhr|von Maximilian Bohne
Roger vs Rafa: the best slam final ever?

Even the omens promised a truly great match. And Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal delivered nothing less than that in the Wimbledon 2008 final. The epic lawn fight only found a winner after almost five hours. In a game that didn't deserve a loser.

Third Wimbledon final between "Fedal" in series

On July 6, twelve years ago, the men's singles final on Church Road at the All England Lawn Tennis Club was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. UK time. The two top players meet, who have been the measure of all things in tennis for years. They triumphed in 14 of the last 16 majors. And now they meet for the third time in a row in the final of the most prestigious tournament in the world. The last two finals were won by Federer, who for the sixth time in a row could be the winner on the Sacred Lawn. However, challenger Nadal comes with the Roland Garros title - and could be the third player in history to make the Paris / London double perfect.

The game finally starts about 35 minutes after the planned start - the rain will play a role a few more times today. "Rafa" is more cold-nosed in the first two sets when it comes to breakballs and achieves a relatively quick 6: 4, 6: 4 lead. In the third set, the game must be interrupted at Federer's score of 5: 4 for 80 minutes. What follows are perhaps the most dramatic two and a half sentences in tournament history. When it finally goes on, the "Maestro" strikes back and keeps his title hopes alive with a 7-5 in the tie-break of the third round.

The legendary tie break of the fourth movement

The fourth set also has no regular end - again both players have to go into the tie break. This one will go down in history as one of the best ever. Nadal quickly takes the lead 5-2 and suddenly has every opportunity to put a quick end to the match on his own serve. But after a double fault and a backhand on the net, everything is back in line. At 7: 7, the Mallorcan manages an incredible forehand ball - the first match ball is finally here. However, Federer is under the greatest pressure and hits an equally perfect backhand pass ball to balance again. BBC commentator Andrew Castle explains that “in the last two rallies there was no doubt that the best passes of the tournament were seen.” The tiebreak finally went to Federer with 10: 8 - a decisive fifth set was needed.

At just before 8 p.m. local time, another rain break forces the players into the changing room for 30 minutes. When the match continues, dusk has already set in. Neither player can break until the 15th service game of the set. In between Federer is only two points away from winning the title, but then Nadal makes the decisive break to 8: 7. On his own serve, he served the match after 4:48 hours to 9: 7 and cheered his first ever Wimbledon triumph at 21:15 in almost complete darkness.

Nadal's triumph - the turning point?

For many, this historic game marks the turning point in the rivalry between Federer and Nadal. The Spaniard took the lead in the world rankings two months later after Federer had been number one for 237 weeks in a row.

(Image © imago images / Xinhua)

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Maximilian Bohne
am 06.07.2020 gepostet von:
Maximilian Bohne
Redakteur
Maximilian ist seit seiner Kindheit begeisterter Sportfan und Tennisspieler. Nach dem Abitur hat er sich dazu entschieden, seine beiden Leidenschaften, den Sport und das Schreiben, zu verbinden.

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