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6 July 2008: Nadal beats Federer in greatest Wimbledon men's final of all time

Nadal with his Wimbledon trophy in 2008.
Nadal with his Wimbledon trophy in 2008. / AFP
  • The then 26-year-old Roger Federer had been the Wimbledon champion for five years in a row and was trying to retain the trophy for a sixth year

On Saturday 6 July 2008 a young Rafael Nadal beat reigning Wimbledon men's champion, Roger Federer, in what many have hailed as the greatest Wimbledon final in history.

In a match which lasted just 12 minutes short of five hours, making it the longest final in history, Nadal beat his opponent 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 to clinch one of the tennis world's most sought-after prizes for the first time.

In the same year the Spanish player also became the first man since Björn Borg to win both Wimbledon and the French Open, something which hadn't happened since 1980. His opponent in France was again Roger Federer, who Nadal had beaten for the third consecutive year to retain his place as the French Open champion, a title he had held since beating Argentinian Mariano Puerta in 2005.

The then 26-year-old Roger Federer had been the Wimbledon champion for five years in a row and was trying to retain the trophy for a sixth year.

The 2008 Wimbledon Men's Singles final was the third consecutive year in which Federer and Nadal had played against each other in that tournament.

The players were due on court at 2pm, but in typical Wimbledon style, rain delayed the start of the match by about 35 minutes.

Nadal won the first two sets 6-4, 6-4, but rain stopped play once again as Federer led the third set 5-4. After a further 80 minute delay because of the bad weather, Federer fought back to win the next two sets, 7-6, 7-6. Another downpour just before 8pm stopped play for an additional 30 minutes.

By the time they returned, it was getting dark and there were doubts over whether they would be able to continue or if the match would have to be postponed until the following day.

In the end play continued into the evening and Nadal went on to win the fifth set 9-7 and also the match itself, which finally ended at 9.15pm.

The 2008 men's final also went down in history as the longest Wimbledon singles final in terms of time played and the second longest final in any Grand Slam until the 2012 Australian Open final.

Nadal has gone on to win 17 Grand Slam singles titles, 11 French Open titles (including this year's), three US Open titles, two Wimbledon men's finals and one Australian Open.

Two months after his victory at the All England Club in London, in August 2008, Nadal overtook Federer in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) rankings, as world number one. He is currently ranked number two after his long-standing rival, Roger Federer.

Wimbledon 2018 started on 2 July and the men's final will take place on 15 July.