Rafael Nadal (left) and Roger Federer meet for a place in the Wimbledon final
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet at a second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final when they face off at Wimbledon on Friday.
Last month, Nadal got his shot at Federer on red clay, winning their wind-whipped French Open semi-final in straight sets on the way to a 12th title there, but now the Swiss gets his shot at Nadal on grass and hopes to prolong his pursuit of a ninth championship at the All England Club.
The pair will play each other for the 40th time in the semi-finals on Friday but the first at Wimbledon since Nadal’s famous final victory over five sets in 2008 which Nadal claimed 9-7 in the decider after four hours and 48 minutes.
Federer and Nadal played out a Wimbledon classic in 2008
Nadal leads the head-to-head 24-15 but has not beaten Federer on any surface other than clay since 2014, losing five matches in a row on hard courts before stopping the rot at Roland Garros last month.
That took Nadal to 18 slam titles overall, only two behind Federer’s all-time record.
There is common consensus that the grass at Wimbledon has never played slower than this year, which would appear to favour Nadal.
I’m excited about this match, excited about this opportunity. Always I say the same; of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here.
Nadal on meeting Federer
“It’s a great feeling to be back in the semi-finals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis is great news,” Nadal said.
“Now to play against Roger always is a unique situation. I’m excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. It means a lot for me and probably for him, too.
“I’m excited about this match, excited about this opportunity. Always I say the same; of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here.”
Federer is looking forward to renewing the rivalry.
We’re still here. So it’s nice to play each other again.
Federer and facing his nemesis Nadal
“He has improved so much over the years on this surface,” he said. “He’s playing also very different than he used to.
“We haven’t played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He’s serving way different.
“I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he’s serving, how much faster he finishes points.
“It’s impressive to see how sort of healthy he’s stayed. A lot of them are saying, ‘Oh, it’s the end’, by 2008. Similar to me in 2009. We’re still here. So it’s nice to play each other again.”
The numbers behind the rivalry 40 This will be the 40th meeting of the two greats. Nadal holds the upper hand with 24 wins to Federer’s 15. 70 Their combined age. Federer turns 38 in August, Nadal is 33. 38 Grand Slam titles between them. Federer has won 20, Nadal is looking for his 19th. 100 Matches won by Federer at Wimbledon, the first man to reach a century at a single Grand Slam event. 11 Consecutive Grand Slam wins between them, from the 2005 French Open to the US Open in 2007. 9 Number of games won by Nadal in the deciding set of the 2008 final, the last time they met at Wimbledon. 211 Consecutive weeks sharing the top two spots in the world rankings, from July 2005 to August 2009. 17 Nadal’s age when they first played each other. The Spaniard beat the then world number one in straight sets, in Miami. 65 Consecutive grass court victories for Federer, a record run ended by Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final. 234,308,576 Combined career prize money (US dollars). Roberto Bautista Agut (left) and Novak Djokovic face each other in the first semi-final
In the other semi-final, Novak Djokovic plays Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain
Djokovic is seeking his fifth trophy, and second straight, at Wimbledon, while Bautista Agut is making his Grand Slam semi-final debut.
Djokovic leads 7-3 head-to-head, but Bautista Agut won their two match-ups this season, both on hard courts.
“I’m going to try to use my experience in being in these kind of matches, get myself tactically prepared,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully I can execute everything I intend to do.”