- 11 Jul 2019
Eleven years on from their last classic encounter at Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal declared “we are still here” as they prepare to do battle for a 40th time.
Rivals of two of the all-time greats certainly need no reminder of that ahead of their semi-final on Friday.
With 38 grand slam titles between them, Federer and Nadal have stood the test of time and they are still going strong.
The legendary duo could only have dreamed of what they would go on to achieve when they first faced each other in Miami way back in 2004.
Fast forward 15 years, Centre Court will be packed and millions will tune in all over the world for another mouthwatering episode of a captivating sporting rivalry.
Nadal won an epic 2008 final 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (8-10) 9-7 the last time they faced each other on the hallowed grass at SW19 and also came out on top in a last-four showdown en route to a 12th French Open title last month.
The Spaniard is expecting another almighty tussle with an old foe who secured a record 100th singles win at the All England Club at Kei Nishikori’s expense on Wednesday.
“He’s been in phenomenal form”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2019
“I expect to play against probably the best player in history on this surface and know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in that final.” Nadal, 33, said.
“I had a lot of defeats [against Federer]. I had a lot of victories. The relationship never changed, always big respect, a good friendship. That will probably not change if I win or if I lose.
“I’m excited about this match, excited about this opportunity to again be in that round against him. The opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here.”
The mutual appreciation between the duo was clear again when Federer spoke of the challenge he faces.
He said: “Rafa has improved so much over the years on this surface. He’s playing 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 healthy he’s stayed. We’re still here so it’s nice to play each other again.”