After meeting in the duel for the title in 2006 and 2007, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were again the players to beat in Monte Carlo in 2008. Nadal, three-time champion, defeated his great rival 7-5 and 7-5 in a hour and 43 minutes to prolong his reign in the Principality and achieve the 22nd consecutive victory in the first Masters 1000 on clay of the season.
Rafa dispatched Mario Ancic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko to reach the title clash. Despite the toughness of his rival, the great Spaniard gave up 19 games in eight sets and made his 15th match against the world number 1, Federer.
Rafa knocked Roger down for the seventh time in their eighth match on clay, coming on strong in the decisive moments to leave the Swiss empty-handed. Despite receiving four breaks from Roger's five chances, Rafa served at 81% and offered better performance on second serve.
Those four breaks were not enough to keep the Swiss safe and give him at least a set. Roger struggled after losing the first serve and allowed Rafa to get six breaks from seven chances as he only saved two of 12 break points.
Federer had more winners but at the cost of more than 35 unforced errors. He couldn't tame his shots the way he wanted and lost ground in the longer rallies to finish as runner-up. The Spaniard made a forehand error and suffered a break in the first game.
He recovered instantly and matched Roger's mistake in the second game to recover the break and level the score at 1-1.
Andy Roddick praises King Roger
In a recording from the Netflix documentary Untold: Breaking Point, Andy Roddick complimented Roger Federer's on-court skills, saying he was the "best defensive and offensive player" in his prime.
"Roger was the best defensive and the best offensive player in the world at the same time. How do you attack that? He's the most-liked athlete in the world, universally, in the world. You speak 17 languages and your hair looks amazing, it's fantastic, and you don't sweat," said Roddick.
Roddick also claimed that although he is not at all jealous of Federer, he is "jealous of the ease at which he is able to navigate being the greatest player of all time." "I'm not jealous of his success.
I am jealous of the ease at which he's able to navigate being the greatest of all time," added the former US Open champion.