Ever since their first meeting in Miami 2004, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forged the most significant tennis rivalry in those years, dominating the rest of the field and fighting for Major and Masters 1000 trophies. Nadal scored four straight wins over Federer at Roland Garros between 2005-08, while Roger had the upper hand in Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007 to extend his incredible streak on grass that had started in 2003.
Making significant progress on the fastest surface, Nadal would reach two Wimbledon finals in the mentioned years, challenging Roger more and more and preparing another assault in 2008 after the fourth straight Roland Garros crown.
Nadal and Federer were the favorites at the All England Club and they reached the third consecutive final, with the Swiss seeking the sixth Wimbledon crown in a row. Since 2003, he had 40 successive triumphs in the cathedral of tennis, with Nadal breaking that incredible streak following an epic 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 tally and carving his path towards the greatest players of all time. Tim Henman had retired a few years earlier, commentating the match and calling it one of the greatest he had ever seen.
Nadal won five points more than Federer, fending off 12 out of 13 break opportunities and earning four breaks to prevail and celebrate in one of the most significant moments in tennis history.
Federer had more winners and more errors to suffer the first Wimbledon loss since 2002.
Rafa stayed in touch with him in the shortest points up to four strokes, improving his serve to reach the rival's level and delivering incredible tennis on those break chances to give it away only once.
Still, Roger found the way to bounce back in sets three and four, prevailing in a tight fourth-set tie break to force a decider where he was the favorite now. Starting all over, Nadal fended off a break chance in the eighth game of the final set, wasting his opportunities on the return in games 11 and 13 before converting the fourth break point at 7-7 to move in front.
Serving a couple of moments before complete darkness, the Spaniard held after deuce to seal the deal and start a massive celebration of his first Major crown outside Paris. "I commentated on the Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal match in 2008," said Henman. "It was one of the best matches I've ever seen, let alone the best Wimbledon final."