Federer is seeking his ninth Wimbledon title.
Federer has won a record eight singles titles at the All England Club, the most recent in 2017. He won five in a row from 2003 to 2007, a streak Nadal snapped in that famous 2008 final.
Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He was the runner-up in 2011 and reached the semifinals last year, losing a dramatic two-day, five-set match to Novak Djokovic. But between 2011 and 2018, Wimbledon was a source of frustration for Nadal, littered with early exits, including a first-round loss in 2013.
They have not been pushed hard yet.
Nadal is ranked No. 2 and Federer No. 3, but at Wimbledon, their seedings are reversed because of the tournament’s formula, which rewards success on grass over a two-year period.
Nadal complained about the formula before the tournament began, and when the draw came out, he certainly seemed to have the tougher path. But since a tricky second-round match against Nick Kyrgios, Nadal has been dominant. He has lost only one set in the tournament, to Kyrgios. He also has not faced a seeded player, dispatching Yuichi Sugita, Kyrgios, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, João Sousa and Sam Querrey. The average ranking of his opponents was 105.
Federer surprisingly lost his first set of the tournament, to Lloyd Harris, a 22-year-old South African ranked 86th. Federer’s only other lost set came at the start of his quarterfinal against eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori. Federer also defeated Jay Clarke, No. 27 Lucas Pouille and No. 17 Matteo Berrettini, who has been one of the tour’s hottest players on grass. After Berrettini was routed, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, in 1 hour 14 minutes, he thanked Federer “for the tennis lesson.”
Should we look forward to the U.S. Open?
This year has ended some significant droughts in the rivalry. After nearly two years of not playing each other, Federer and Nadal will now meet for the second time in five weeks. They had gone 11 years without playing at Wimbledon. They had gone eight years between matches at the French Open. They have somehow never faced each other at the United States Open. Is this the year?