Rafael Nadal has gone down to Roger Federer in another thriller. Picture: Shi Tang/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal has gone down to Roger Federer in another thriller. Picture: Shi Tang/Getty Images

World reacts to Federer and Nadal's Wimbledon classic

FELLOW athletes and other celebrities were in awe of the show put on by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their Wimbledon semi-final on Friday night.

Federer exacted sweet revenge over Nadal to sweep into a record 12th Wimbledon final with an enthralling four-set triumph over the mighty Spaniard.

Echoes of 2008 reverberated around the All England Club as Federer and Nadal wound back the clock in their much-anticipated first Wimbledon match-up in 11 years.

But unlike Nadal's five-set victory in that epic encounter more than a decade ago, a match dubbed the greatest of all time, Federer reigned 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 in another classic  to set up a blockbuster final with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

There were moments of heart-stopping tension in the roller-coaster match, but it finished as a joyful experience as all involved - including the combatants - were able to appreciate how fortunate we are to be living through this era.

Spanish football star David De Gea wrote "thanks for making me love tennis", former England cricketer Graeme Swann swooned over the "mind blowing spectacle", and Aussie actor Hugh Jackman also weighed in.

 

 

The media was just as impressed, searching for superlatives in the rush to meet deadlines.

Writing for The Telegraph, Jim White said Federer had defied time as well as physics in a performance that was "from another planet".

"Neither look to have deteriorated since that glorious day in 2008. Nothing has changed. Their shots still defied all known laws of physics. Their will to win is as ferocious," White wrote.

"This was tennis from another planet. Some of the rallies were frankly ridiculous. These are two men for whom the word 'genius' long ago seemed inadequate.

"Federer looked like a man surfing the ages. This was not some lowly qualifier he was manipulating round the court. This was Nadal, a man who has won 18 grand slam titles."

Writing for the BBC, Jonathan Jurejko said: "Lengthy baseline rallies featuring flawless ground strokes, supreme athleticism belying their advancing years and scintillating winners - particularly from Federer's backhand - left the 15,000 crowd captivated."

Roger Federer shows his joy after beating Rafael Nadal. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AP
Roger Federer shows his joy after beating Rafael Nadal. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AP

Former British star Tim Henman was in awe of Federer's ability to stay with Nadal on long rallies - traditionally a strong suit of the Spaniard who has made a career out of wearing opponents down on clay from the baseline.

"Historically we've seen Nadal dominate when he extends the rallies. At 37, Federer - you felt - might get tired but it was just phenomenal," Henman said.

"Nadal was always playing catch up. Federer on his serve was always up 15-love you felt, Nadal was never really up love-15 and able to get the crowd on side.

"It was surprising how aggressive and how consistent Federer was."

FEDERER: 'IT LIVED UP TO THE HYPE

Federer's win over Nadal on Friday came in the pair's 40th career meeting and 11 years after the Spaniard triumphed in a mesmeric, epic final.

The Swiss needed five match points to secure the victory, his 16th of their 15-year rivalry.

"It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well," he said.

"Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

"But it's definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon."

But even that description didn't perfectly reflect his satisfaction. The 20-time major winner admitted he was holding back given the final was still to come.

"I know it's not over yet. There's no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy," said Federer. "I think I can with experience really separate the two.

"If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I'd be speaking very different, feeling very different. There is fortunately, one more. It's great on many levels. But got to put my head down and stay focused."

NADAL: 'CHANCES ARE NOT FOREVER'

Nadal put his run to the semi-final down as a positive but immediately understood the historic impact of being on the wrong side of the result.

"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity," he said. "But at the same time I created another opportunity to be in another final of a Grand Slam.

"Just accept that was not my day. I played a great event. I take this in a positive way.

"At the same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever.

"Last year I had chances here (he lost in five sets to Djokovic in the semi-final), I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here."

 

News Corp Australia


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