But the Swiss star kept reminding everyone this week that he has had the upper hand on surfaces other than clay.
Not this time.
Nadal lost to Federer in the 2006 Wimbledon final in four sets, and the 2007 final in five. Although the latter was certainly suspenseful, it featured neither the drama nor the all-around excellence of Sunday’s encounter, which ended at 9:15 p.m., when Federer pushed a forehand into the net on Nadal’s fourth match point.
Federer made clear afterward he was not pleased that play continued despite the low visibility at the end.
“It’s rough on me now, obviously, you know, to lose the biggest tournament in the world over maybe a bit of light,” he said.
Said Nadal: “In the last game, I didn’t see nothing.”
Both players figured that had Federer managed to break back to 8-8, play would have been suspended until Monday because of darkness.
“It would have been brutal,” Federer said.
It didn’t happen.
Nadal came through, and when he arose from his celebratory flop on the ground, he had grass stains on the back of his white shirt. He shook hands with Federer, then climbed into the players’ guest box to hug his uncle/coach Toni and others. With tears in Nadal’s eyes, he grabbed a red-and-yellow Spanish flag and walked across the top of the scoreboard and the roof of the TV announcers” booth to reach the Royal Box for handshakes with Spain’s Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia.
As this scene unfolded, Federer sat alone in his changeover chair, protected from the night’s chill by his custom-made cream cardigan with the gold “RF” on the chest.
So many serves, so many strokes, so much grit — all for naught.
“I am very happy for me,” Nadal said, “but sorry for him, because he deserved this title, too.”
After 16 consecutive years of always showing up at Wimbledon, winning five titles along the way, Venus Williams pulled out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament Tuesday, citing a lower back injury.
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June 10, 2012: John McEnroe, Ted Robinson, and Mary Carillo look back at the Top Ten best moments from the 2012 French Open.
June 23-July 6