Wimbledon 2019: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer look ahead to semi-final showdown

Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in their 2008 epic Wimbledon final
Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in their 2008 epic Wimbledon final

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are both relishing their first Wimbledon meeting since their classic final of 2008.

The pair will clash in the semi-finals at the All England Club on Friday after Federer recovered from a set down to defeat Kei Nishikori and Nadal pulled away following a tight first set in a 7-5 6-2 6-2 victory over Sam Querrey.

The final 11 years ago, when Nadal defeated Federer after five epic sets, is regarded as arguably the best match of all time.

Nadal's victory over Federer in 2008 was the third time in a row they had played each other in the final, with the Swiss legend winning the previous two.

The Spaniard went on to win his only other title here in 2010 while Federer became the first man to lift the trophy eight times at SW19 when he defeated Marin Cilic in 2017.

It seems remarkable that they have not played each other on grass since 2008, and Nadal said: "It's a great feeling to be back in the semi-finals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis is great news.

"Now to play against Roger always is a unique situation. I'm excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. It means a lot for me and probably for him, too.

"I'm excited about this match, excited about this opportunity. Always I say the same: of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer during an unforgettable final
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer during an unforgettable final

"I just expect to play against probably the best player of the history on this surface, and I know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in that final," said Nadal.

"I know he's playing well. He feels comfortable here. And me, too. I'm playing well."

Federer, now 37, became the first player to reach 100 match wins at a single Grand Slam - 18 years after his first - when beating Nishikori to reach his 13th semi-final and now he's two wins a way from a ninth Wimbledon title.

The Swiss is looking forward to renewing the rivalry and believes Nadal has improved on the surface despite not winning here since 2010.

"He has improved so much over the years on this surface," Federer said. "He's playing also very different than he used to.

"We haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He's serving way different.

"I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points.

"It's impressive to see how sort of healthy he's stayed. A lot of them are saying, 'Oh, it's the end', by 2008. Similar to me in 2009. We're still here. So it's nice to play each other again."

Two legends of the game embrace after the 2008 Wimbledon final
Two legends of the game embrace after the 2008 Wimbledon final

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