In the eptimore retro final, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will play in the final of the 2017 Australian Open, making a surprising final chapter (probably) to their immense rivalry, as the clash for the 9th time in a Grand Slam final.
The two stars, both surprising almost everyone by making it this far while both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray got knocked out quite early, will play for the 12th time in a Grand Slam match. Nadal has the massive advantage, 9-2, including 6-2 in finals. It’ll be the second time they play each other at the Australian Open final. They faced each other in four French Open finals and three Wimbledon finals. Federer hasn’t beaten Nadal in 5-set match since 2007, losing his last six against Rafa in Grand Slams. Here are the photos to show how it all happened, most of it in the previous decade:
2006 French Open
The first Grand Slam final clash between the two legends occurred at the 2006 Roland Garros. Once again, like all of their meetings in Paris and most of them on clay, Nadal was just too much for Federer. He dropped the first set before taking 3 in a row, denying Federer the chance of becoming the first player since Rod Laver to be simultaneous champion of all four slams.
Rafael Nadal showed everyone he’s more than just a clay player, but his lack of a massive first serve and inability to make it his own game against Federer on grass made it a relatively quick final, ending in less than 3 hours, with Federer winning in four sets, including 6-0 in the first.
2007 French Open
A year later and nothing changed. Again, it was Nadal and Federer in the Roland Garros final, and it was once again Nadal, at this point still a champion only in the French major, the winner after four sets. This was the third time in four years that Federer missed out on the perfect slam season because of a loss at the Roland Garros.
Nadal gave Federer a lot more problems in the sequel to their first Wimbledon final, but Federer’s serve won his two tiebreakers to win the first and third sets. It seems that losing 2-6 in the fourth gave him the extra umph to fend off Nadal for good and win the fifth set 6-2, winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.
2008 French Open
Third French Open final in a row of Nadal beating Federer, but this one was setting up something even bigger. It was also Federer’s worst loss in a slam final, taking only four games before losing the third set 6-0.
One of the best finals ever at Wimbledon has a ‘what if’ around it because of the no-playing-at-night at the time at the All England club. Nadal, fresh of destroying Federer at the French Open, won the first two sets 6-4. Federer came back with two tiebreak wins to force a fifth set which also went to the Wimbledon-style tiebreaker, won by Nadal 9-7, with the sun setting. Federer rushing the play while Nadal slowing it down made a big difference, but if Nadal had any sort of mental block against Federer on grass, it was broken that afternoon.
2009 Australian Open
Roger Federer came to a startling realization in early 2009: Rafael Nadal is better than him, and might deny him from breaking the Grand Slam record. Nadal beat Federer for the third straight time in a slam final, beating him in 4 hours, 23 minutes 5-set classic which had Federer in tears. Turns out Nadal didn’t have a very good year after that, while Federer completed his Career grand slam and broke Pete Sampras’ record, only he didn’t do it against Nadal.
2011 French Open
Rafael Nadal won his sixth French Open title as he beat Federer in four sets. The first two were tiebreakers, then Federer took one, but Federer at this point couldn’t really physically cope with Nadal’s extra wind, losing the fourth set 6-1. In 2011 Federer failed to win a single Grand Slam title, a first for him since 2002.