Nina:
Hello everyone. If you live in Sydney Australia it’s 11pm. If you live in New York it’s 9am. If you live in Los Angeles, it’s 6am. If you’re lucky enough to live in London it’s 2pm. Wherever you tennis fanatics are, we’re ready to roll with live coverage of the men’s final at Wimbledon. Feel free to leave comments and we’ll respond as we go along.

It’s cloudy and overcast, which is no surprise, but Rafael Nadal is in the final again which is a surprise to us here at Tennis Diary. In our reader poll, exactly one person chose him to reach the final for the second year in a row and it definitely wasn’t me. What is it about Nadal and Bjorn Borg? They get to the finals of the fastest and slowest surface but can’t win the US Open? [correction: it’s sunny and bright. Weatherunderground.com lied earlier this morning]

Pat:
Good morning all, although it feels like the middle of the night! The things I do for these guys! Rafa and Roger look so nice in the all white as they came on court, the tailors at least worked overtime. Let’s hope we have a barnburner today.

Pat:
Well, nice opening for Roger, up 3-0 now. Both guys seem nervous and the kinks getting worked out. Nice move by Rog stepping around the second serve and driving the forehand up the line.

Federer 3-0

Nina:
Excellent serving by Federer. Average service returns – a lot of them have been short. I hope he runs around his forehand on second serves a bit more. Two excellent passing shots. How many volleys into the net is that for Nadal?

Federer 3-2

Pat:
Hi Nate, Yes I think Rafa has a chance, he is covering the court well, returning well, and he just broke Rog right back, so hold on to your hats

Federer 4-3

Nina:
If it goes to five sets, Rafa has a good chance. That’s his forte. Neither player has played a five set slam final. Looking at Rafa and Roger’s five set matches, it’s always been Rafa who’s pulled it out. On clay, yes, but Rafa is better in those situations.

Federer 5-4

Pat:
Nice hold from Roger when it counted just now, he seems to be holding serve easier than Rafa, but Rafa is hanging right with him. Nice match shaping up! Keep up the good work guys.

Federer 6-5

Nina:
Nate, if effort decided this match, no contest: Rafa. Federer is beginning to force his way to the net a bit more. If he doesn’t Rafa will take it to him. What does it say that Rafa is the second best grass court player at this time?

Federer, 7-6

Pat:
Wow, what a great first set, we’re in for a stellar match. Roger a little stronger in the tiebreak, but it took him a while. Good aggression moving in on that last point and putting away the backhand volley. I want to see more of that from him, he needs to step it up. Rafa is returning really really well.

Federer 7-6

Nina:
See what I mean, though, if it stays close, Rafa has a good chance. Nate, that Wimbledon record was why Rafa had to win the first set. Good chance was wrong, better to say that it’s Rafa’s only chance.

Federer 7-6, 3-4

Pat:
Isn’t it nice to have a good first serve?? Fed just hit three aces in a row to hold onto serve at a critical time. But how impressive is Nadal staying right with him?

Federer 7-6, 4-6

Pat:
Wow, talk about flying by the seat of your pants! That shot from Rafa sitting down on the baseline was great, hope someone got a pix of that. I tell you, Rafa has more than a fighting chance, he is playing extremely well. Now it’s Roger’s turn to go into overdrive. If he doesn’t lift his level he may not win this after all, groan! Roger needs a bit more intensity, I’m sure it’s coming.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 0-1

Nina:
I was worried that Roger wasn’t farther ahead because Rafa is making errors since he can’t hit his safe topspin. Here’s the deal: Roger is the better grass court player but no one has pushed him for five sets or, really, pushed him that hard in a slam final. If Rafa does, Rafa’s mind will outdo Roger’s skills.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 3-4

Pat:
This is headed to five, and probably tiebreaks all of them.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 4-5

Nina:
Federer is hanging in there with his serve but why isn’t he pressuring Nadal’s backhand and trying to get to the net? I think I’ve been spoiled by Gasquet’s backhand down the line, where’s Roger’s? It doesn’t look threatening at all.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 5-5

Pat:
You are correct, it doesn’t feel threatening, more like he’s just using it to work his way into it. Isn’t it nice to have a good serve to help you out? He dodged a bullet there down several break points. Still need more aggression from Fed already

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6

Pat:
Wow, I guess we’re seeing the old Pete Sampras theory of playing Wimbledon: you hang around a set and take care of your serve, get into the tiebreak, step it up and grab those few critical points and off you go. But I don’t count Rafa out, this is still going down to the last point. What a squeaker! Have you got sweaty palms yet, Nina?

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6

Nina:
Roger is way lucky because Nadal was the aggressor in that set. But this is also why Roger loses on clay and Rafa loses on grass. Roger has to go for extra big shots on clay to make up for Rafa’s steadiness and speed. On grass, Rafa has to go for the big shots and eventually, as he did in the tiebreak, the shots start to go long and wide.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 0-3

Pat:
Wow, that was cute! Roger challenging Hawkeye, haha! Is he nervous or what? Is he going to make a battle here in this set now that he is down two breaks? Or dance around and put it all in the fifth?

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 0-3

Nina:
Not a good time for sloppy play. Two loose volleys and double break down and what did he say to the umpire, can you turn Hawkeye off? Confident players don’t usually do that!

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 1-4

Pat:
Roger is really cranky on the changeover, still yakking about Hawkeye to Carlos Ramos in the chair. At least he held serve for 4-1, but what next? Roger picks his wedgie?? I’m hanging onto my sea

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 1-4

Nina:
Rafa’s knee is wrapped, he’s looking up at his box, this is not looking good. Roger should forget about the drop shot though, that’s Rafa’s game. Come to the damn net willya, pressure him. It will be really unfortunate if the match turns on his knee because this was beginning to look like a classic.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6

Pat:
I don’t think the knee will bother him, more activity may loosen it up, I’m not worried. I am more worried about Roger, he has played the critical points well, but overall Rafa has outplayed him.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6

Nina: L, they may have turned Cyclops off if it seemed to me messing up in the past and I don’t know what the rules are for ignoring Hawkeye though I assume the umpire has some disgression, but those Hawkeye calls looked good, Roger was the only one complaining. A rare, rare show of discombobulation from him. Nate, when Nadal started coming to the net I thought it was all over for him, trying to end points quickly, but now he seems to have calmed down a bit.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 2-1

Pat:
Great hold by Fed, but have you noticed Nadal has picked up Roger’s first serve especially and is getting it back much more often now.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 2-2

Nina:
It would be hard for Federer to keep up that level of serving and now he doesn’t have a tiebreak to lean on. He has to break serve else we’ll be here all day because there’s no fifth set tiebreak at Wimby.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 2-2

Pat:
Wow, Roger had to fight to hold serve for 3-2, good hold. Whoops, forgot about that no tiebreak in the fifth set, and we probably will be here all day!

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 3-2

Nina:
Whoa, this is giving me a heart attack. Roger had opportunities to come to the net and didn’t use them. I feel like I’m talking about the French Open, not Wimbledon.

Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 4-2

Nina:
I’m reminded of Dunlop Maxply’s opinion on why Rafa beats Roger on clay: because Rafa never gives him an opportunity to be on the defense and when Roger gets stretched, he has an opportunity to make some great shots. That game had a few great shots.

Pat:
What a break from Roger! What a hold to back it up! These guys are giving me near heart attacks. Is it too early to drink yet? Nina, he didn’t have to come to net on the break game, Nadal helped him out with those few stray errors. How close is this match! I’m dying here

Final score: Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2

Pat:
What a finish! Unbelievable! Roger is one lucky so and so. Notice how he finally – FINALLY – hit a key backhand up the line winner! Where the hell was that shot? That’s really the shot he needs to open up the court a little more. I’m a nervous wreck. And Nadal’s nerve just let him down that little bit. Now, does Borg present him the trophy?

Nina:
And then, just like that, it was over. Federer hung in there, fought back from 15-40 more than once, suffered through a mental lapse and a lost set, and with that patient, eternal calmness he waited till the fifth set for the slightest lapse by Nadal and then, only then, was he able to raise his game and take it. It did turn out to be a classic. An absolute classic.

Pat:
I liked Roger’s comments just now, how he felt kind of lucky to grab one of these Wimbly titles because Rafa was going to be around for a while and he will have lots of chances here. Rafa is ready to win here, he does have the game, it came down to just a few points. Roger seemed to know what this guy is capable of now though on grass. He knows he got pushed today more seriously than any of us thought. I’m thinking Rafa will win this next year. I have a lot of respect for Nadal. And I still say Roger was a bit lucky. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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