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Moya: 'When He Plays Like This, Nadal Is Not Inferior To Anyone'

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019

Moya: ‘When He Plays Like This, Nadal Is Not Inferior To Anyone’

Coach discusses Nadal’s semi-final showdown against Federer

While Rafael Nadal forges his way past one opponent after another at Wimbledon, former World No. 1 Carlos Moya is busy attending exhibition matches on his home island of Mallorca, Spain.

Coach Moya, an integral piece of Nadal’s team since 2017, opted to skip the trip to England as Nadal’s longtime coach Francisco Roig’s oversees matters at The Championships. That doesn’t mean coach Moya isn’t keeping track of his charge’s matches; the Spaniard is following all the action on television as a partial spectator and as a shrewd tactician.

Moya spoke with to discuss Nadal’s progress so far at the tournament and to break down the semi-final clash against Federer.

You spent the first week of Wimbledon preparations by training with Nadal in Mallorca.
That week in Mallorca, two weeks before this event, was spent adapting to the grass, nothing more. The training was almost exclusively with me, where we made slight alterations after a long period playing on clay.

That week isn’t meant to be perfect; it’s more about adjusting to the surface. Then came the week before Wimbledon, when he played games and spent hours on the court in London. From there, training shifted to strategising specifically for the tournament. I tell Rafa this all the time: During training, things don’t have to be perfect every day, they need to be perfect when the tournament starts. And even then, at most other events, it isn’t critical to be performing flawlessly through the first two or three rounds.

Here though, it is crucial he’s at his best from the start. Wimbledon is one of the few tournaments where everything needs to be 100 per cent from the beginning, especially considering the draw and the surface. The most important thing is that he stays measured and gauges his progress.

That week in Mallorca wasn’t the time or place for him to peak. Each day is a step forward in terms of raising his game.

That second-round contest against Nick Kyrgios felt like more than your average second round.
This year’s draw was the worst possible (for Nadal). On a mental level, what Kyrgios demands of you … He’s a player who has already triumphed in these circumstances, just as he did in 2014 (d. Nadal 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3). He won at Acapulco this year as well (d. Nadal 6-3, 7-6(2), 7-6(6)). He is a very dangerous player for anyone to face, the opponent everyone hopes to avoid.

The good in that is if you defeat someone like him or you manage to come through a tough side of the draw, your confidence rises, just as Nadal’s has. He has taken his game into another gear. If you overcome that adversity early on, it gives you confidence in the later stages of the tournament.

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We can agree then that the match against Kyrgios was a turning point.
Yes. Overcoming a stiff test against Kyrgios in the second round has given Rafa the confidence to compete at the level he’s at now.

What’s his best asset at the moment?
Rafa’s doing everything right. His serve, his return, his rhythm, his defence … I’m watching from home, breaking down plays as I see them and thinking in my head how I’d be handling every situation, playing every point… I can honestly say he’s doing exactly what I’d be doing or wanting him to be doing. That doesn’t mean I’m right, but the results prove he’s performing at a spectacular level.

Like never before?
Last year he played very well. Each year he’s proving to be more and more effective on grass. In 2017, he had two bad sets with Muller and couldn’t recover, but he was playing very well throughout. Last year he convinced himself that he could win Wimbledon again, and he was very close to doing just that. His positive attitude has been key to his success. His game is very potent on this surface; I’d almost go so far as to say it’s his second-best surface.

Nadal handled Roger Federer a few weeks ago at Roland Garros. What changes going into this semi-final match, considering it’s on grass?
Defending and second-guessing on grass are more complicated. The one who strikes first is the one who has more options to win the point. In the end, the grass rewards aggression.

You always have to try to play in favour of the surface on which you compete. On clay, you can work the point more and afford not to take as many risks. It’s the opposite on grass. Rafa is doing very well at dictating play so far. Against Federer, he doesn’t need to change anything, since his grass-court play is perfect the way it is. We know Rafa is set to face a very tough opponent, but he should not change anything.

Is there one clear favourite?
There is no favourite. When he plays like this, Nadal is not inferior to anyone. The outcome is wide open. When he’s at full strength, Rafa is almost always the favourite, regardless of the surface. I don’t feel he’s inferior to anyone, honestly.

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Nadal is just two majors shy of Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam haul. What are your thoughts on that?
You have to forget about that, even if it isn’t simple to look past. It’s always on people’s minds when Rafa and Roger meet, but I hope they know Rafa sees Roger as a lifelong rival, a special opponent. Their rivalry goes back a long way, many years and a lot of history now. It is probably the most important rivalry in the history of tennis. All that doesn’t matter to Rafa when they meet. He’s just looking for ways to inflict damage on Federer.

Have you recently re-watched the 2008 Wimbledon final?
Yes, but not for reference. They are two very different players compared to back then. They’ve both changed significantly. The fact that, 11 years later, they’re still in the Top 3 in the ATP Rankings says a lot. There are new faces, younger challengers, stronger athletes, but none can compete in terms of vast knowledge. At the end of the day, both Rafa and Roger are players who understand the game much better now than they did back in 2008.

The 2008 final was decided in five sets. Who would benefit in a match like that today?
Historically it should benefit Rafa, but we know what happened in the final of the Australian Open in 2017. Nadal understands that the match is going to be decided by fewer and fewer shots, even if that’s not what he wants. Shorter rallies, shorter points, shorter matches, less wear and tear.

Something else is clear: If Federer does not want a long, drawn-out match, there won’t be a long, drawn-out match. Whoever is more aggressive will have the upper hand in dictating the rhythm and flow of the match. Whoever goes on the attack in an ultra-aggressive manner will emerge victorious.

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Roger & Rafa At Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019

Roger & Rafa At Wimbledon

Relive the three Wimbledon finals the all-time greats have contested

Fans have waited 11 years for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to meet again at Wimbledon, where the two legends seared their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry into memories with the 2008 final, one of the greatest matches ever played.

Nadal, leading by two sets to zero, held on to knock Federer off his SW19 throne and celebrate his first Wimbledon title. But, to date, Federer has had the last chuckle on the rye grass: he entered his 21st Wimbledon with a record eight titles. The Swiss, however, hasn’t faced Nadal at SW19 since their 2008 epic.

Ahead of their Friday semi-final, remembers their three FedEx ATP Head2Head Wimbledon matchups.

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2006 Final, Federer d. Nadal 60 76(5) 67(2) 63
The question – Could Roger Federer be beaten on grass? – was not a rhetorical one in 2006, two years after the surging Nadal introduced himself as a potential challenger to the Swiss. Heading into their 2006 final, Federer, the top seed and three-time defending champion, was riding a 47-match grass-court winning streak.

But while Nadal had proved a worthy fighter on clay and hard – the Spaniard had won 17 tour-level titles, including two Roland Garros crowns, all basically before his 20th birthday – he had yet to carry that success over to the grass. The 20-year-old was playing in his first Wimbledon final and his previous best finish was the third round.

The duo had split the season’s two first Grand Slams – Federer winning the Australian Open (d. Baghdatis) and Nadal Roland Garros (d. Federer). But during their second meeting in a Grand Slam final, it was Federer who began in hot form and maintained his level.

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The Swiss eased through the opener and broke Nadal when the Spaniard served at 5-4 to close out the second set. Nadal rebounded in the third, but Federer took early control in the fourth, breaking Nadal at 2-1 and 4-1 and eventually winning the Championships when serving at 5-3.

Federer, who captured his 39th career title and eighth Grand Slam crown, became the sixth man to secure four straight Wimbledon titles. He’d go onto have one of his best seasons ever, winning three Grand Slam titles and becoming the first man to reach all four Slam title matches since Rod Laver in 1969. Federer finished 2006 with 12 tour-level crowns.

2007 Final, Federer d. Nadal 76(7) 46 76(3) 26 62
Nadal had again beaten Federer in the Roland Garros final, the Spaniard’s third consecutive Paris title. And, during their second Wimbledon final, he showed he would be a formidable foe for Federer on quick surfaces for years to come by producing the best grass-court performance of his career despite having endured a draining fortnight.

Nadal, playing for the seventh consecutive day after rain wreaked havoc on the tournament schedule, showed his mental and physical toughness by pushing the four-time defending champion Federer to five sets for the first time in his 34-match win streak at the All England Club.

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Federer, who had never lost a match at Wimbledon after winning the first set, claimed the first set tie-break despite Nadal’s gallant effort to save three consecutive set points at 3/6.

An attacking Federer made many forays to the net but Nadal had his blistering passes dialed in. The Spaniard saved a break point in the first game of the third set and then didn’t face another break point until Federer claimed the decisive break in the sixth game of the fifth set.

Having seen Nadal save 16 of 17 break points against him to win Roland Garros, Federer twice rallied from 15/40 in the fifth set to avoid going down an early break.

Federer, who clubbed 65 winners – including 24 aces and a plethora of crosscourt backhand winners – equaled Bjorn Borg’s record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles. Nadal was attempting to become the first player since Borg in 1980 to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, a feat he wouldn’t have to wait much longer to accomplish.

2008 Final, Nadal d. Federer 64 64 67(5) 67(8) 97
For the third year in a row, here they were, defending champion Federer and reigning Roland Garros champion Nadal. The two were owning the European clay and grass swings, making it six straight Roland Garros-Wimbledon finals between the two of them.

In one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of their 18-match rivalry, Nadal won the first set but fell Federer looked to have things under control in the second with a 3-0 lead.

The World No. 2 Nadal, however, fought back to silence the Centre Court crowd and take a two sets to zero lead. The third set was interrupted by rain, with Federer leading 5-4. The duo returned after a 71-minute delay and, despite windy conditions, held on for a tie-break. Federer forged ahead 5/2 and eventually clinched the set on his third set point.

The fourth set moved into an inevitable tie-break, which kept the thousands of spectators on Centre Court on the edges of their seats. Two unforced errors from Federer on the forehand wing gave Nadal his first championship point at 7/6. One shot and the Swiss’ reign would have ended right there, but again his serve rescued him.

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Nadal, though, struck a forehand winner with Federer approaching the net for his second championship point at 8/7. Serving for the match, Nadal was drawn to the net by Federer who passed the 22-year-old with a backhand winner down the line. With Nadal’s confidence dented, Federer seized control of the tie-break and took the final to a decisive set.

More rain interrupted the match at 2-2 in the fifth set. After a 30-minute delay, the final resumed and as darkness set in, Nadal finally converted his fourth break point opportunity for an 8-7 lead after Federer hit a forehand long.

Another championship point went begging, but at the fourth time of asking Nadal clinched the 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 victory in four hours and 48 minutes. It was the longest final in Wimbledon history (since 1877). The battle for the No. 1 ATP Ranking had just intensified, and the greatest match ever played had just finished.

In the years since, the match has become commonly known as one of the greatest ever. Sports Illustrated tennis writer Jon Wertheim later wrote a book – which spawned a documentary – about the match, titled, “Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played”.


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How Well Do You Know The Federer-Nadal Rivalry At Wimbledon?

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019

How Well Do You Know The Federer-Nadal Rivalry At Wimbledon?

Test your knowledge ahead of the Wimbledon semi-finals

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and two-time winner Rafael Nadal’s semi-final blockbuster is 11 years in the making. Not since the final of The Championships in 2008 have they stood across the net from one another at the All England Club.

Both players have shown tremendous form to reach the semi-finals on the hallowed London grass. Before they battle on Centre Court, test your knowledge of their rivalry at Wimbledon.

Need a little assistance? Check out these resource pages:
FedEx ATP Head2Head | Every Match Ever Played

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RF Foundation | Rafa Nadal Foundation

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Becker memorabilia auction raises over £600,000

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019

An auction of trophies and memorabilia from former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker’s career has raised in excess of £680,000.

The highest bid of £150,250 was recorded for the US Open replica trophy Becker won against Ivan Lendl in 1989.

Also included amongst the 82 items was a replica of the Davis Cup which was sold for £52,100.

Becker, 51, now a coach and TV pundit, was declared bankrupt by a London bankruptcy court in June 2017.

The auction was organised to pay his debts and also included watches, signed memorabilia and some of the playing clothes from his career.

In January 2018, the German issued an appeal to help find five Grand Slam trophies he said had been misplaced, along with an Olympic gold medal won for the doubles in 1992.

The auction began in June last year but was put on hold when Becker claimed diplomatic immunity against an attempt to sue him, insisting his appointment as a diplomat by the Central African Republic (CAR) gave him protection from any legal claims.

Becker dropped the claim in December.

Smith and Williamson’s Mark Ford, lead trustee to Becker’s bankruptcy estate, said: “The highest bid in 2018 for the US Open Trophy was £36,000 and this year it is £150,250, which is fantastic.

“We still hope to locate and recover the missing trophies including six relating to Mr Becker’s successes at Wimbledon and his two Australian Open titles. If anyone has any information relating to these, please contact the trustees in bankruptcy.”

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Flashback: Relive Federer-Nadal 2008 Wimbledon Final

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019

Flashback: Relive Federer-Nadal 2008 Wimbledon Final remembers one of the greatest matches of all-time

The original headline, “Nadal Sets Sights on No. 1 After Epic Wimbledon Battle”, may not have gone far enough, but then again, tennis fans have learned over the years that words cannot describe the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. They don’t suffice in summing up the 2008 Wimbledon final, either, the match that spawned a book and a documentary and is largely considered the greatest in tennis history.

The final, their third consecutive at SW19, had everything to give it the drama of a James Patterson novel: suspense (rain delays), plot twists (Nadal led by two sets to zero before Federer came back) and a surprising ending (the Spaniard upset Federer at Wimbledon for the first time).

Before the two return to Centre Court for their Friday semi-final, the 40th contest of their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, relive the 2008 classic below.


World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has the World No. 1 ranking firmly in his sights after becoming the first man since Sweden’s Bjorn Borg in 1980 to clinch the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double on Sunday. He also emulated the achievement of Spanish compatriot Manuel Santana, who captured the 1966 Wimbledon title.

Nadal made it third time lucky against ATP World No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland in The Championships final, after beating the five-time defending champion 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 on Centre Court. The final, which finished at 9:15pm BST, was twice interrupted by rain.

“[I’m] just very happy because I played with very positive attitude all the time,” said Nadal. [To] win here is unbelievable for me.”

At four hours and 48 minutes in duration, it was the longest final in Wimbledon history (since 1877), and the 9-7 deciding set was the longest in a championship since 2001 when Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia defeated Australian Pat Rafter 9-7 in the fifth set.

Nadal has closed the gap to 545 points in the South African Airways ATP Rankings behind Federer. Federer has 6,600 points to Nadal’s 6,055. Nadal came into Wimbledon 1,145 points behind Federer.

Nadal’s fifth career Grand Slam title (5-2) gives him the most among Spaniards, surpassing Santana (4). Nadal is the second player – after Federer in 2004, ‘06-07 – to win two of the first three Grand Slam titles in a season since Pete Sampras won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 1997.

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The 22-year-old held two of four championship points in the fourth set tie-break at 7-6 and 8-7, but Federer fought back to within sight of winning a sixth successive Wimbledon singles crown. The Swiss shares the record of five straight triumphs with Englishman Laurie Doherty (1902-06) and Borg (1976-1980).

“Federer is a great champion,” said Nadal. “His attitude always is positive when he loses or when he wins. I always have a lot of respect for him. I admire him a lot. We have a very good relationship.”

Federer had been trying to become the first player since 1927 to come back from a two-set deficit in the Wimbledon final and win. That year Henri Cochet defeated French compatriot Jean Borotra 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Federer was attempting to come back from a two-set deficit and win for the fourth time in his career.

“[It is] probably my hardest loss, by far,” said Federer. “I thought I played well. [But I] missed too many chances obviously in the first couple of sets. Rafa played well. I’m happy we lived up to the expectations. I’m happy the way I fought. That’s all I could really do.”

The last male to have saved match points and won a Wimbledon singles final was American Bob Falkenburg, who saved two match points against John Bromwich of Australia in 1948.

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Nadal now holds a 12-6 career lead (9-1 on clay, 2-3 on hard, 1-2 on grass) against Federer. It was their 14th overall meeting in a final (Nadal leads 10-4). This was the sixth career meeting in a Grand Slam final between the two superstars (Nadal leads 4-2), which is the most in the Open Era.

Nadal improved his match winning streak to 24 in a row since his last loss to compatriot and former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero in the opening round at Masters Series Rome on May 7. It is also Nadal’s fourth straight title (Masters Series Hamburg, Roland Garros, Queen’s, Wimbledon) and an ATP-best sixth title of the year.

Federer’s all-time record 65-match winning streak on grass, including 40 in a row at Wimbledon, comes to an end (since his last loss to Croatian Mario Ancic in the first round at Wimbledon six years ago). Federer’s unbeaten streak in 10 career grass court finals also ends.

Since Roland Garros in 2005 when Nadal captured his first Grand Slam crown, 13 of the last 14 Grand Slam titles have been won by Federer (8) or Nadal (5). The lone exception came at the Australian Open in January when Novak Djokovic broke through to win his first Slam title.

The 2008 Wimbledon final was the third time in the Open Era that the same two players had met in the championship of a Grand Slam tournament for three consecutive years. The others were Federer and Nadal at Roland Garros (2006-08) and from 1988-90 at Wimbledon where Sweden’s Stefan Edberg defeated Boris Becker of Germany in two of the three years.

In the mixed doubles final, which did not start until 8:32pm BST, American Bob Bryan and Samantha Stosur of Australia upset top seeds Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 7-5, 6-4 in 61 minutes on Court One.


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Serena Williams beats Barbora Strycova to reach Wimbledon final

  • Posted: Jul 11, 2019
Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details

Serena Williams made light work of Barbora Strycova to reach the Wimbledon final and stand one win away from a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

The American was just too powerful for the Czech in a 6-1 6-2 win that set up a final against Romania’s Simona Halep.

Williams, chasing an eighth singles title here, dominated throughout against Strycova, who at 33 was the oldest Grand Slam semi-final debutant.

The American wrapped up victory with just 59 minutes on the clock.

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