'Roger Federer felt inferior ahead of Rafael Nadal clash,' says his coach



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'Roger Federer felt inferior ahead of Rafael Nadal clash,' says his coach

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met 40 times between 2004 and 2019. Nadal scored 24 victories, but Roger had the advantage in the closing stages of their incredible rivalry. The Swiss defeated the Spaniard in Basel 2015 and started his notable serious against a great rival.

Federer beat Nadal in six of the last seven meetings, including their last encounter at Wimbledon three years ago. Roger won only nine games against Rafa in the Roland Garros semi-final a month earlier, and he did not like his chances at beloved Wimbledon either.

Federer's coach Ivan Ljubicic said they had to assure him he could beat Nadal on grass, with the entire team doing their best to make him feel less inferior. As it turned out, everything worked well for Roger, who overpowered Rafa 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes for a place in his last Major final.

Federer fired 51 winners and 27 unforced errors, playing aggressive tennis and making a fresh start from set number three to emerge at the top. Rafa chased his first Wimbledon final since 2011, hitting 32 winners and 25 errors and missing his chance in the fourth set's closing stages.

There were two breaks of serve on each side, and Federer saved his successful return games for sets three and four when it mattered the most. Both players served well in the opener, and Rafa denied the only break chance in game eight after pushing the rival's backhand to the limits.

The set went into a tie break, and Nadal opened a 3-2 advantage. Suddenly, Federer claimed five straight points and wrapped up the set with a forehand down the line winner for a massive boost. Rafa stayed focused and broke at love at 2-1 in the second set to build the advantage.

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal in their last match on the Tour.

The Spaniard broke again in game six after the Swiss' terrible forehand and closed the set a few minutes later for 6-1. Federer made a fresh start in the third set and fired 15 winners and two unforced errors to keep the pressure on the other side.

He broke Nadal for the first time in the fourth game with a volley winner for a 3-1 lead. Roger forced the rival's error in game nine to clinch the set 6-3 and move closer to the finish line after two hours and six minutes.

Federer made the decisive break at 1-1 in the fourth set and looked good to seal the deal from there. Rafa squandered game points at 3-5 and experienced a match point. He saved it with a service winner and held to reduce the deficit and keep his chances alive.

Federer served for the victory at 5-4 and played a loose smash to face a break point. He denied it after Nadal's backhand error and sealed the deal on the fifth match point for a massive celebration. "The 2019 Wimbledon semi-final win over Rafael Nadal is among my favorite Roger's triumphs.

Roger was worried and under pressure. He felt inferior, and we had to assure him he was capable of winning. I cried after that match, and it was a very emotional moment," Ivan Ljubicic said.