Who would have thought it? Nadal and Federer still ruling the roost

Roger Federer serves

All lovers of the game of tennis and Wimbledon fortnight, in particular, look back on the 2008 men’s singles final played out between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in awe.

Nadal won in five epic sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. The match took 4 hours 48 minutes, and it ended Federer’s dream of becoming Wimbledon champion for a sixth consecutive year.

Awesome though that was, who would believe that ten years later, a 37-year-old Federer and a 32-year-old Nadal would be being tipped to face each other again in the men’s final? That is not the only remarkable thing.

Still at the top of their game

The fact of the matter is that they are both still at the top of their game. Nadal is ranked World number one in the ATP rankings with Federer hotly on his heels as World Number 2. The last six major world tennis championships have been won by one of these formidable players. It means that they have currently matched their previous second longest stretch of dominance.
Argentinian tennis star, Juan Martin del Potro, said after being beaten by Nadal in this year’s Roland-Garros semi-final, that ten years ago it was all Rafa and Roger and now it’s the same again.
Of course, previous World number ones Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have not fully recovered from injuries in terms of match fitness. In June Murray was placed 156th in the ATP rankings while Djokovic was rated 17th.

The injury bug

Tennis players are always subject to injury, but it is Roger Federer’s stunning recovery from injury that has to be admired. Back in 2016, he was forced to retire from the French Open tennis championship. It wasn’t an easy decision for the Swiss to make. It meant an end to his unbelievable run of playing in 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments.

The injury in question was the tearing of his meniscus which meant he had to undergo surgery on his left knee. In a strange twist of fate, it wasn’t running to make a shot on the tennis court that brought the injury about; rather he was running a bath for his twin daughters!

Federer decided to take six months out to regain full fitness, and as he said at the time, to give him a good chance of extending his career. What a great decision. Not only did he win the Australian Open on his return in 2017, but he is now the favourite to lift the men’s singles title this year in SW19.

Of course, one certain Spaniard, Senor Rafael Nadal, may well have something to say on that score. Why you may ask is Federer favourite to wear the Wimbledon crown again when the ATP rankings are first and second in favour of Nadal? The answer is, of course, the surface. It’s grass!

The master on grass

Roger Federer has been the dominant figure in men’s grass court tennis for 15-years – ever since his first Wimbledon championship win back in 2003 when he beat Philippoussis to launch his record-breaking eight Wimbledon men’s titles. Since then he has notched up 93 match wins at the famous English venue – 34 more than any other player still playing today.

While Nadal has won a record 10 French Open titles, Federer has been in the Wimbledon final 11 times (winning eight) as opposed to Nadal’s three (winning two). Both players have met three times in the final, and although the Swiss won two, the Spaniard won their last encounter, which many people rate as being the greatest tennis match of all time.

We wonder what the two grandad’s of the game might have in store for us this year? Anyone care to make a bet?