After the deadly duels witnessed by the Tennis courts across the orb between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier, Sampras and Andre Agassi, modern era tennis has been kept alive and kicking by the never-ending rivalry between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Swiss Master Roger Federer.
Federer and Nadal have played monumental tennis in the last half a decade and given us the viewer — a joy of watching two of the most complete players in the history of tennis. This statement gains a lot of weightage considering the amount of adulation and expectations that is been bestowed from the two, something which the old warhorses missed during their heydays.
While players such as Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker have enlightened the courts of Wimbledon with their brisk strokeplay, Federer and Nadal have taken the game to an altogether new zenith. The mother of all battles took place on the Wimbledon Centre Court in the epic final between the two in 2008 which Nadal clinched 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7. It was the Spaniard’s sixth title of the year and his first Wimbledon crown. It was a match that signalled a change in the World Tennis order and Federer soon was pushed to the No.2 spot in the rankings, something which the Swiss ace mulls even today.
The match went on for four hours and 48 minutes and was delayed twice due to rain. The spectacle was stretched to over seven hours ending just before nightfall. That loss marked the first time Federer had been beaten in a Grand Slam final match other than the French Open.
Wimbledon 2009 was expected to revive the rivalry between the deadly duo but with the Man from Spain withdrawing from the event citing injuries, Federer is disappointed. “It’s obviously very disappointing for me. Of course, I’d love to play him. He’s my main rival,” said Federer 2 days before starting his campaign to regain the Golden Crown at the All England Club.
When Federer, who has gone on to march to the last 20 Grand Slam semifinals, steps onto Wimbledon Centre Court for his first round tie against Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu on June 22, it will be his first tennis game since crushing Robin Soderling in the Roland Garros final.
But with Nadal out of the equation, Federer will more than happy to ‘kiss’ the Crown and take it back home again!
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