Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forged one of the most exciting rivalries in tennis when they first met in Miami 2004, dominating the rest of the circuit for years to come. Nadal scored four straight victories over Federer at Roland Garros between 2005-08, while Roger held the lead in back-to-back Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007, extending his incredible grass-court streak that he had started in 2003.
With significant progress on the faster surface with a low rebound, Nadal would reach two Wimbledon finals in the aforementioned years, challenging Roger and setting up another round in 2008 after his fourth consecutive Roland Garros crown.
Nadal and Federer were the favorites of the All England Club, overcoming six obstacles and reaching the third consecutive final. Since 2003, Roger had 40 consecutive victories in the tennis cathedral, and Nadal snapped that incredible streak after a memorable 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 victory in four hours and 48.
minutes. Thus, Rafa became the first player since Bjorn Borg with a "Channel Slam", adding the fifth Major to his account just after turning 22 and making his way to the immortals of tennis. Nadal won five more points than Federer in a thrilling battle, fending off 12 of 13 break opportunities and winning four breaks to prevail and emerge victorious in one of the most important moments in tennis history.
Rafa stayed in contact with the five-time champion on the shortest points up to four strokes, which was crucial to his success. The Spaniard improved his serve to reach Roger's level and delivered incredible tennis on those break occasions to suffer only one break.
Nadal tested positive
In a recent interview with Filo News, World No. 13 Diego Schwartzman heaped praise on Rafael Nadal's prowess on clay. The Argentine admitted it is "almost impossible" to match Nadal's level of intensity on a claycourt and that players often admit defeat even before stepping onto the court against the Spaniard.
"On clay, it is almost impossible to follow the rhythm and dominance that he (Nadal) has. Rafa is the one who imposes the most respect on you when entering the court. It is like you enter defeated," said Schwartzman.
In the interview, Diego Schwartzman also explained the differences when it comes to playing against Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. “Federer being so relaxed, sometimes he gives you a game. You enter the Nadal match, and it seems that everything from the first point to the last point, is the last in his career," mentioned the World No.
13. “It imposes so much respect on you. It is very difficult to sustain what he does from minute zero," added Schwartzman.