Roger Federer describes Rafael Nadal Wimbledon rematch victory as one his favourites
"I know it's not over yet," Federer adds as he targets ninth Wimbledon singles title against Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 13/07/19 8:36am
Roger Federer admits his semi-final victory against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon – their first meeting at the All England Club in 11 years – will definitely go down as one of his “favourite matches to look back on”.
The 37-year-old Swiss defeated his great rival in a rematch of their classic 2008 final, which went to five sets, as he reached a 12th Wimbledon showpiece and set up a meeting with defending champion Novak Djokovic.
The match had been eagerly anticipated and both players produced another compelling encounter which lived up to the expectation in front of an enthralled Centre Court crowd.
Federer sealed the victory on his fifth match point at the end of a game which featured some spectacular tennis, including two of Nadal's best points in the match.
"There were some brutal rallies in key moments that went my way," Federer said. "I think those might have made the difference today.
"It's always very cool to play against Rafa here, especially having not played in so long. It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well.
"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 guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.
"But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.
"I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy."
Did you know...
In 2003 Roger Federer and Serena Williams both won Wimbledon aged 21. 16 years later and they are both back in finals this year.
Federer will now target a 21st Grand Slam singles title against four-time champion Djokovic, who leads their head-to-head 25-22, on Sunday and is aware the job is "not over yet".
Asked how hard it is to recover from the high for his next match, he said: "Age kicks in. 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. I think I can with experience really separate the two."
Two-time champion Nadal was bidding to remain in contention for back-to-back Grand Slam wins and close the gap to Federer's haul to just one.
The 33-year-old was gracious in defeat, saying he had not found the levels he had produced during the rest of the tournament.
"It's been a tough one. I had my chances. He played a little bit better than me, I think.
"I probably didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserved it. Congratulations to him."
Djokovic ready for Federer to have Centre Court backing
Meanwhile, Djokovic insists he is not bothered if he does not receive the Centre Court backing when he faces Federer in what will be their fourth meeting at Wimbledon.
Djokovic has won the past two meetings - both in finals - and is bidding for a fourth Grand Slam success in the last five events.
The world No 1 booked a place in his sixth Wimbledon final with a four-sets win over Roberto Bautista Agut, but he was in a irritable mood with the crowd, particularly during a second set slump in form.
Djokovic ironically threw his hands up when they cheered the Spaniard winning the second set, then shushing them by putting his finger against his lips before cupping his ear after winning a 45-shot rally on break point in the third set.
"Look, I am focused on what I need to do," Djokovic said.
"At times they wanted [Bautista Agut] to come back to the match, maybe take a lead because he was an underdog in the match. I understand that.
I'm going to go out there and fight and give it my all.
"But I had enough support here over the years, so I don't complain. It won't be the first time playing against Federer on Centre Court. I've had that experience more than once. As I said, I know what to expect.
"I'm going to go out there and fight and give it all. It's finals of Wimbledon.
"This is the kind of a match that I always dreamt of as a young boy with the tennis racket, dreamt of being part of. This is what I worked for. I wanted to be in this position.
"I have a chance to fight for a trophy. Regardless of who's across the net or what is happening around, I'll definitely give it my all."
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