Rafael Nadal recalls: 'Roger Federer beat me, and I though it was my last..'

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Rafael Nadal recalls: 'Roger Federer beat me, and I though it was my last..'

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played their first Major final at Roland Garros 2006. The young Spaniard defended the title claimed a year ago and tried to stole Roger's Wimbledon crown a few weeks later. The Swiss extended his streak on grass, and the same rivals met in another Wimbledon final in 2007.

Federer emerged at the top to celebrate the fifth consecutive All England Club title and match Bjorn Borg's record. Nadal gave his everything in the title clash, pushing Federer to the limits before the Swiss prevailed 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 in three hours and 45 minutes.

Roger saved seven out of 11 break points and produced his best tennis when it mattered the most to cross the finish line first. Nadal had a slight advantage in the more advanced exchanges. Still, it was not enough to keep him safe in the decider despite early chances that could have sent him in front.

Nadal said it was a crushing defeat at that moment, giving his best and still finishing empty-handed in what could have been his last Wimbledon final. Rafa suffered a break on Federer's third break chance in the opener's game two from 40-0 up and pulled it back at 1-3 to remain competitive.

Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nada in five sets at Wimbledon 2007.

The returners took only six points by the end of the set, reaching a tie break that Federer claimed 9-7 for a massive boost. The Swiss saved break chances in the second set's sixth game before the Spaniard grabbed a break at 5-4 with a backhand down the line winner to level the overall score and improve his chances.

Nadal fended off a break opportunity at the beginning of the third set, and they both served well to introduce another tie break. Roger won it 7-3 to forge two sets to one advantage, hoping to seal the deal in set number four.

Instead, Nadal started all over and raced into a 4-0 advantage, playing on a high level and forcing a decider after dropping seven points in four service games. Federer had to dig deep on serve early in the fifth set, repelling four break chances and drawing momentum that carried him home.

The Swiss rattled off the final four games from 2-2 with breaks in games six and eight to seal the deal and join Bjorn Borg on five consecutive Wimbledon crowns. "It hurt a lot to lose the 2007 Wimbledon final; I was ready to win it that year, and I thought that could have been my last chance to lift the Wimbledon trophy," Rafael Nadal said.