It was an epic clash between the two greatest players who share 38 Grand Slam titles between them. 11 years since they last met at Wimbledon in the 2008 final in probably one of the greatest tennis matches in the open era, much was expected of them to live up to all the hype surrounding this year’s semi-final match and they surely didn’t disappoint. Although the match didn’t go down to the fifth set as it did back then but yesterday’s match had moments of sheer brilliance by both the players much to the delight of everyone who loves the game of Tennis.
Ever since the draw is announced prior to the start of the tournament, people look forward to this match as to at what stage will they be on collision course. Such is the interest and the aura surrounding their match. The kind of tennis that they produce against each other is extraordinary and both of them are able to bring out the best from one another. Federer with all his class and Rafa with his indomitable spirit never cease to disappoint. Although the score at the end of the match read 7-6(3),1-6,6-3,6-4 in favour of Federer, anyone who watched the match would admit it was way close than what the score reflects.
Rafa who just beat Federer few weeks back at the Roland Garros semi-final on his way to 12th French Open title had the upper hand going into this match owing to his recent form and his age advantage if the match went down to the wire. But over the years it has been Roger who has owned the grass court and for sure he pulled out a sublime performance to down Rafa. Rafa had lead Federer 10-3 in Grand Slam clashes prior to yesterday’s match and in most of those wins he has targeted Roger’s backhand and he tried to employ similar tactics in yesterday’s match as well. But the authority with which Roger was hitting the backhand yesterday was truly mesmerizing to watch. Not just the backhand slices to stay in the rally but the backhand winners he hit were marvellous. Nadal who wins the longer rallies and tires down and frustrates the opponent with the amount of distance he covers on the court didn’t deter Federer as he was willing to engage in the longer rallies and this was so refreshing to watch. Roger managed to even win points on his second serve and that proved to be too much for Rafa. After a closely contested first set which Roger won in the tie break, Rafa came back strongly as one would expect of him and picked up the second set 6-1 and it looked like he was running away with the match. But in the third set Roger played some outrageous tennis that he hasn’t played in a long long time, it was vintage Roger and when that happens he is too good for any challenge. He broke Nadal early in the fourth set and then did exceptionally well to hold on to his serve in the entire set to eventually beat Nadal.
The camaraderie and the amount of respect that Nadal and Federer have for one another is exemplary and showcases their true sportsman spirit and this is what makes them such lovable figures for the fans. It is widely speculated year after year as to when the top 3 including Djokovic will bow down and the younger generation will take over the mantle but year after year they continue to enthrall everyone with their sheer brilliance and love for the game. They continue to perform at the highest level thwarting whatever challenges are thrown at them and for the fans it’s apt to bask in the glory till it lasts. They are the true ambassadors of the game and still have a lot to offer.