Wimbledon: Federer only 1-of-13 on break points
WIMBLEDON, England ó One number could haunt Roger Federer when he looks back on the 2008 Wimbledon final.
Federer, who was trying to win his sixth straight title at the All England Club on Sunday, had 13 break points against Rafael Nadal but only managed to convert one.
“I wasn’t happy the way I was playing break points early on, no doubt,” Federer said after losing 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8), 9-7 in a Wimbledon classic on Centre Court. “Except the one I made. It was fantastic.”
After being broken once in the first set, Federer managed to get a break of his own early in the second to take a 3-0 lead. But the top-ranked Swiss was soon broken twice more, and Nadal saved another break point in the final game to take a two-set lead.
“The chances were always there,” said Federer, whose loss snapped a 65-match winning streak on grass and a 40-match winning streak at Wimbledon.
Federer fared better when facing break points, however. Nadal also held 13 of them, but only managed to convert four, including one at 7-7 in the final set that allowed him to serve for the match.
“Sometimes Rafa played great,” Federer said. “He came up with some unbelievable passing shots when he needed to. And then other ones I played poorly on them, which I just think maybe I should have really decided much more what I really wanted to do.”
Federer, who has also lost to Nadal in the last three French Open finals but beat him in the previous two Wimbledon finals, had his forehand working for much of the match. But Nadal’s was working, too, and so was his backhand, and that was enough to keep Federer from moving past Bjorn Borg’s five straight titles and equaling the six in a row that Willie Renshaw won from 1881-86.
“Rafa keeps you thinking, and that’s what the best players do to each other in the end,” Federer said. “Rafa also missed many opportunities later on. You always make it hard for the opponent, and that’s what we both do to each other.”
The match, the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history, will certainly go down as one of the all-time greats, especially with light fading on Centre Court and the clock ticking past 9 p.m.
But none of the superlatives about the epic match are going to make the loss any easier on Federer, who is stuck on 12 Grand Slam titles after losing back-to-back major finals for the first time in his career.
“Probably my hardest loss, by far,” Federer said. “I mean, it’s not much harder than this right now.”