WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND-After more than a year and a half without playing each other anywhere, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet at another consecutive Grand Slam tournament as they head out into Wimbledon's semifinals.
Last month, Nadal got his shot at Federer on red clay, winning his French Open Semifinal on straight to a 12th title there.
"We had some brutal relationships to play in. But it was a joy to play against Rafa there, on his right," Federer said. "And of course I love to play against him here at Wimbledon."
On Friday, Federer gets his shot at Nadal on grass and hopes to extend his pursuit of a ninth championship at the All England Club.
"Means much to me," said Nadal, "and enough for him too."
This is their 40th showdown on the tour; Nadal leads 25-14. It's their 14th match in a big; Nadal leads 10-3. And this is the fourth time they play at Center Court; Federer leads 2-1.
But Nadal won the last one that ran Federer 9-7 in the fifth set of the 2008 finals – considered by many the biggest battles in tennis & # 39; long history – as daylight fell to nothing.
It would never again be a problem because a retractable roof and artificial light have been in place at the tournament's main stadium since the following year. Another moving tire was added to the No. 1 court this year.
What hasn't changed? Federer and Nadal are still at the top of the game.
If it's hard to believe more than a decade has passed since these two rivals last shared a court in Wimbledon, it's also hard to understand how they've dominated their sport for as long as they have. Federer is first among men with 20 career Grand Slam titles. Nadal is next with 18. Add third issue of 15 trophies belonging to Novak Djokovic, which is seeded No. 1 and plays No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in Friday's second semifinal and this amazing trio has won 53 of the last 64 major championships .
It includes 14 of the last 16 in Wimbledon. Also: 10 in a row everywhere during the last 21/2 seasons.
Djokovic seeks his fifth trophy, and second in a row, at the All England Club, while Bautista Agut makes his Grand Slam semi-final debut.
Djokovic leads 7-3 head-to-head, but Bautista Agut won their two matchups this season, both on hard courts.
"I will try to use my experience in being in these kinds of battles, get me tactical prepared," Djokovic said. "Hopefully I can do everything I intend to do."
Although Federer will be 38 on August 8, Nadal 33 and Djokovic 32 are showing no signs of failure.
"We still feel we have a chance to compete for the most important things," Nadal said. "That's what really makes us continue to play with this intensity."
Not to mention continue to work on aspects of their game.
Federer, for example, switched to a larger racket and began using a flatter backhand more often instead of a slice. Nadal has been working on his service and it has helped him again to be a giant on the grass.
He reached the finals during five consecutive Wimbledon appearances from 2006-11, winning twice, but has not been so far since, including a series of opponents against opponents placed 100 or more. Last year he was beaten in five sets by Djokovic in the semi-finals.
"Didn't play slowly on this surface. He earns way differently. I remember back in the day how he used to earn. And now, how much bigger does he earn, how much faster does he end up," Federer said. "It gets hard. Rafa can really hurt someone on any surface. I mean, he's so good. He's not just a clay-court specialist we know."
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