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.
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
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.
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