The Wimbledon 2008 Men’s Final saw Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal fighting for the title. The two greats were the undisputed best players on tour at that time and were ranked number 1 and 2. The contest lasted for 4 hours and 33 minutes and would be called as one of the greatest tennis matches ever played. Many tennis experts even argue that it was the greatest ever tennis match. We rewind in tennis history to look at that epic contest at the center court of SW19.
Rafael Nadal Draws First Blood
Before meeting in the Wimbledon 2008 final, Roger and Rafa had met in the 2006 and 2007 editions of the tournament also. The Swiss maestro was always in front in both those matches and had won the title on both occasions. The 2008 edition showed glimpses of being one of the greatest tennis matches from the outset.
Rafael Nadal took an early lead, winning the first and second sets 6-4 and 6-4. He was thus just one set away from clinching the Wimbledon 2008 title. However, the contest would soon take a great turn to become among the greatest tennis matches at the center court.
Roger Federer Roars Back: The Wimbledon 2008
Until the Wimbledon 2008 final, Roger Federer had won 41 consecutive matches on the center court. The King of Grass was not going to give away his crown so easily. He came back strongly in the 3rd set and won it in a tie-breaker. The match now had new life into it, and the crowd could feel the tension on the court.
The 4th set again saw both players holding their serve. It was eventually another tie-breaker that would decide the fate of the contest. The intensely fought tie-breaker made everybody convinced that they were witnessing what would become among the greatest tennis matches of all time. It brought back the memories of that 1980 final at Wimbledon between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Federer would finally secure another tie-break win to take the match to a deserving 5th set.
Nadal Finally Wins Wimbledon
During the 5th set of Wimbledon 2008 Men’s Final, the level of play rose to the impossible standards. Both players were unwilling to give an inch which was making it one of the greatest matches. With no tie-breakers for the last set those days, both were trying to break the opponent’s serve. Finally, as it was turning dark and the match had past 4 hours and 30 minutes, Rafael Nadal broke Roger Federer’s serve. He won the set with a 9-7.
Nadal had finally become the Wimbledon 2008 champion and also won one of the greatest tennis matches in the tournament’s history. Roger Federer, who had been continuously winning the title from 2003 to 2007, was finally beaten at the 42nd time of asking at SW19. In terms of the crowd response, the level of play, and sheer history involved, it was truly one of the most epic matches of the center court of SW19. Many tennis experts and analysts, including John McEnroe, referred to the 2008 final of Wimbledon as the greatest ever tennis match in the Open Era.