Rafael Nadal will kick off the action at the Rome Open against Jannik Sinner on Wednesday, seeking the tenth Foro Italico crown. Asked about his favorite Wimbledon memory by a journalist, Rafa had no doubts, mentioning that epic 2008 victory over Roger Federer.
After competing in the title match in 2006 and 2007, Nadal and Federer were the favorites to reach the third straight All England Club's final, passing six obstacles to set the anticipated clash. Since 2003, Roger had 40 successive wins in the cathedral of tennis, and Nadal broke 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 tally just after turning 22 and carving his path towards the tennis immortals. Nadal won five points more than Federer in a thrilling battle, fending off 12 out of 13 break opportunities and earning four breaks to prevail in one of the most significant encounters in tennis history.
Rafa stayed in touch with the five-time champion in the shortest points up to four strokes, improving his initial shot to reach Roger's level and delivering incredible tennis on break chances to give serve away only once.
The Spaniard moved in front in the third game, survived a scare on serve at 5-4 and fended off two break chances to clinch the opener.
In 2008, Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in just under five hours in Wimbledon final.
Federer forged a 4-1 advantage in set number two before getting broken at 4-2 to bring Nadal back into contention.
With the momentum on his side, Rafa grabbed another break at 4-4 with a forehand winner, serving for the set in the next game and repelling a break chance to move two sets to love in front and closer to the finish line. Roger bounced back in sets three and four in a manner of a true champion, prevailing in a tight fourth-set tie break from 5-2 down to force a decider and become the favorite.
The players had to leave the court in the final set's fifth game set due to rain, returning half an hour later to continue an incredible encounter. Roger created a break chance with a forehand down the line winner at 4-3, denied by Nadal's smash winner.
The Spaniard leveled the score at 4-4 with another forehand winner to stay alive and show the fighting spirit. At 5-5, Rafa earned two break opportunities with a forehand down the line winner, unable to convert any of those or make an extra step two games later.
In the 15th game, the Spaniard seized more opportunities on the return, securing a break after a colossal forehand error from the Swiss and serving for the title. At deuce at 8-7, Rafa hit a service winner and moved over the top following Roger's forehand mistake, celebrating one of his most glorious victories ever and writing the record books.