Novak Djokovic described a "quite unreal" victory as he sympathised with opponent Roger Federer following Wimbledon's longest ever final.

An epic clash that last four hours and 57 minutes concluded with Djokovic edging a historic fifth-set tie-break to defend his All England Club title, denying Federer the honour of becoming the oldest grand slam champion in history.

Unsurprisingly, after an exhausting effort, the triumphant world number one, who saved two match points, was keen to commiserate with Federer.

"I think that was if not the most exciting, thrilling final I've ever been in, then [in the] top two or three in my career," he said. "And against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I respect a lot.

"Unfortunately, in these kind of matches, one of these players has to lose. We both had our chances and it's quite unreal to be two match points down and to come back.

"It's a bit strange to play a tie-break from 12-12, as well. I was hoping I could get to the tie-break [after winning two earlier]."

Federer may have fallen short of making history, but Djokovic, who now has 16 grand slams to his rival's 20, says he can still only hope to match his rival's achievements.

"Roger hopes that he can give other people belief they can do it at 37 - I'm one of them," said the Serbian. "He inspires me, for sure."

Roger Federer said he would "try to forget" his Wimbledon final defeat to Novak Djokovic after failing to take two match points.

The eight-time champion fell agonisingly short of a ninth title, losing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) on Centre Court on Sunday in the longest final in history at the All England Club.

At 8-7 in the deciding set, Federer led 40-15 on his own serve but could not see out victory.

The match became the first Wimbledon final to go to a tie-break at 12-12 in the decider before Djokovic claimed his fifth championship after four hours and 57 minutes.

Federer said: "I will try to forget, but it was a great match.

"It was long, it had everything. I had my chances; so did he. I thought we played some great tennis.

"I'm very happy with my performance. But Novak, that was great, congratulations man, that was crazy."

Federer, 37, will regret that 16th game of the final set for a long time, but his longevity continues to amaze.

He suggested this will not be his final challenge for a 21st grand slam triumph, even though he turns 38 next month.

"I hope I give some other people a chance to believe that at 37 it's not over yet," said the Swiss.

"I feel great. It's going to take some time to recover, physically too. But I gave it my all, I'm still standing, and I wish the same for all the other 37-year-olds."

His family came out to see the presentations, and Federer said: "They won't be excited with the plate [the prize for finishing runner-up]. They'd rather take that golden thing. I love them. It's back to being Dad and husband, it's all good."

Novak Djokovic came through an epic back-and-forth Wimbledon final, the longest in history, to outlast fellow great Roger Federer and defend his All England Club title on Sunday.

Facing the supremely popular eight-time champion on Centre Court, Djokovic never truly showed his best form but still had enough energy and skill to triumph 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in a marathon contest.

The world number one was fortunate to win the opener and then collapsed completely in the second, but he was typically resilient in edging another tie-break in the third set to lead 2-1 without creating a single break point.

A third Wimbledon final victory over Federer was secured despite again crumbling in the fourth as Djokovic was forced to stave off two championship points in the decider.

With the set tied at 12-12, an historic first final-set tie-break was required, and Djokovic got the job done.

Federer, who claimed "the stars are aligned" after beating Rafael Nadal in the last four, had been bidding to become the oldest ever grand slam singles champion but never led a tireless opponent, his errors at crucial moments proving costly.

Djokovic has now won 33 of his past 34 grand slam matches and four of the past five such singles titles, taking his career tally to 16 major crowns.

In their first grand slam meeting in three and a half years, Djokovic struggled with his serve early on - fortunate to see Federer's ferocious forehand squander an opportunity - and could not get his return game going either.

But the top seed escaped from a tricky opener with the lead, reaching a tie-break where Federer's sloppiness gifted him four straight points.

Rather than seize the initiative by kicking on in the second, though, Djokovic swiftly fell two breaks behind, an awkward slip to concede the first break point setting the tone.

A sensational backhand slice set Federer en route to another break to take an improbably straightforward set, although Djokovic dug in at the start of the third.

Federer stayed patient but was taken to another tie-break and his backhand let him down. A messy effort led to an immediate mini-break, another following as he shot into the net.

Djokovic protected that advantage and quickly went after a killer blow in the fourth, but it was Federer, backed by a partisan crowd, who led when a pivotal point saw the Serbian narrowly miss the baseline, teeing up the break.

There was another break, too, before Djokovic belatedly brought his trademark return, losing a 35-stroke rally in his first opening on the Federer serve of the entire match - close to three hours in - but taking the next opportunity.

It was not enough to prevent a decider and the pendulum continued to swing back and forth.

Djokovic fizzed a backhand past Federer at the net for the crucial lead, yet he could not cling on in the following game, a double-fault letting the veteran back in.

Although a sublime stretching Djokovic volley kept Federer from another break point, the veteran finally led for the first time at 8-7 when he whipped a forehand through the defence.

Federer had two shots at championship point in a carnival atmosphere but was reeled back in and Djokovic was the man left standing at the end of a final tie-break, his power somehow persisting as the Swiss mishit a forehand to lose after four hours and 57 minutes.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Novak Djokovic [1] bt Roger Federer [2] 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 54/52
Federer - 94/61

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 10/9
Federer - 25/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 3/8
Federer - 7/13

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic – 62
Federer - 63

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic – 74/47
Federer - 79/52

TOTAL POINTS
Djokovic – 203
Federer - 218

Novak Djokovic was taken to five sets and a historic tie-break in the longest Wimbledon final in history by Roger Federer but dug in to defend his title at the All England Club.

Roger Federer believes the "stars are aligned" but he may have to produce another out-of-this-world performance to dethrone Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Federer followed up his record 100th victory at the All England Club against Kei Nishikori by beating old rival Rafael Nadal in a classic semi-final on Friday.

The Swiss legend faces another mouthwatering duel with defending champion Djokovic in the final at SW19 on Sunday.

Federer produced a regal Centre Court masterclass to down fellow great Nadal 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 and does not feel he needs to do any homework for the challenge of taking on the world number one.

The 20-time grand slam champion said: "This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read, I don't know, how many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

"It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result against Rafa. It's been a rock-solid year from me, [I] won in Halle. 

"Stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint I can go into that match [against Djokovic] very confident."

Federer added on the battle between the top two seeds: "At the end of the day it comes very much down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place, who's got more energy left, who's tougher when it really comes to the crunch.

"In the tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes."

Top seed Djokovic has won his last three matches against Federer and beat him in both of their previous two deciders at the grass-court major.

The Serb says his use of the visualisation process has enabled him to see clearly as he strives to retain the title. 

"It is part of my pre-match routine. I also do it on the court. I think we all do it to some extent, whether it's conscious or unconscious." said the 32-year-old.

"I think it's normal that when you care about something, you want to prepare yourself the best possible. Especially on the changeovers, you visualise and imagine what the next point or next game will be like.

"It is a quite challenging battle within yourself. I think at this stage we play in one of the most important stadiums and tournaments in the world, playing semi-finals, finals, fighting for the trophy with one of the biggest rivals.

"I think the most important and probably the first win that you have to make is the one within yourself, then whatever happens externally is, I guess, a consequence or manifestation of that.

"The visualisation is part of the mental preparation. It's very, very important for me. I do it all the time."

Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal spoke of the intense bond that helped them through their epic men's doubles final at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Colombian pair eventually got the better of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a five-set thriller that spanned almost five hours on Centre Court, causing the women's doubles final to be put back until Sunday.

Tie-breaks were needed to decide the first four sets before Cabal and Farah won the fifth 6-3, both men falling to the turf with elation and exhaustion in equal measure.

After becoming the first Colombians to win a men's grand slam doubles crown, Farah and Cabal faced the media and discussed the close nature of their friendship.

"I think we've been friends, almost brothers, since we're five," Farah said. "We literally grew up together.

"We were sponsored by Colsanitas since we were 10, 11. Grew up together in a house. That gives you a strong bond.

"And obviously Sebas and I, since I left college in 2010, we said, 'Let's play together'. We had played before I went to college. It worked out from the beginning. It clicked.

"I know Sebas has the touch, has the magic in his hands. I have the power. I feel like that's a very good duo.

"It's great to live this with your brother, your brother like from another mother. It's like a cliche, but it's really what it is."

On lifting their trophies in the Royal Box, Farah added: "Not every day the whole royalty of the UK is watching you play tennis. I mean, it's just indescribable. That court is just magical.

"I don't have any other words to describe that court. I mean, the whole history that court has is just crazy. To think you grew up watching it, now you're winning in it, just becomes even more magical."

Mahut was struck by the ball three times during the course of the match, including twice in successive points, but Cabal insisted such incidents were part and parcel of playing doubles.

"Obviously you apologise," he said. "It's two versions of hitting the other guy. Today it was a play. It wasn't bad intentions. In the whole match we hit them, they hit us.

"It's doubles, that's it. That's why if you can see it, every time we hit each other, it was like good environment, good, fair play. Everything was good. No bad looks or anything."

An absolutely epic Wimbledon men's doubles final was eventually won by Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal as Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were defeated after almost five hours on Centre Court.

After the opening four sets all went to tie-breaks, Colombian duo Farah and Cabal gained an advantage in the fifth and ultimately prevailed 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

The match lasted four hours and 57 minutes while there was a delay when the roof was closed prior to the deciding set, and a finish of around 21:00 local time meant the scheduled women's doubles final had to be postponed until Sunday, after Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer's men's singles showdown.

Defeat will bring back painful memories for Mahut, who famously lost 70-68 to John Isner in the final set of his first-round singles encounter at the All England Club in 2010 – the longest match in the sport's history.

His partner Roger-Vasselin was in tears at the end and Mahut will be hurting in more ways than one after being struck three times during Saturday's absorbing final in front of a captivated crowd.

The Frenchman required lengthy treatment after taking a blow to the forehead early in proceedings and was hit twice in successive points in the final set – once in the neck and then again in a more sensitive area.

And he was unable to console himself with victory as Farah and Cabal became the first men from their country to win a grand slam doubles crown, both collapsing to the turf in delight as the championship point – the 419th point of the match – went their way.

Simona Halep said seeing royalty in the crowd gave her an "extra boost" as she claimed a first Wimbledon title, while Mark Philippoussis was drinking on the job at SW19 on Saturday.

Halep thrashed Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in less than an hour on Centre Court and was given a royal seal of approval following her majestic performance.

Philippoussis, a two-time major runner-up, was in weekend mode as he sampled an alcoholic beverage while playing in the invitational doubles.

Dylan Alcott was trending on Twitter in Australia after his historic victory at the All England Club.

Catch up on what was happening on the penultimate day of the grass-court grand slam.

 

HALEP GIVEN 'UNFORGETTABLE' ROYAL BOOST 

Halep picked out "Kate" as the one person she would like to see in the Royal Box for her first Wimbledon final.

The 2018 French Open champion got her wish and exchanged words with the Duchess of Cambridge after denying Williams a record-equalling 24th major singles title. 

"It was an honour to play in front of her. I had the chance to meet her after the match. She's very kind, very nice," Halep said after becoming the first Romanian to win a singles title at Wimbledon, with Williams' friend the Duchess of Sussex also in attendance.

"Yeah, it was an extra boost when I saw all of them there, the Royal Family. Winning in this position, it's really nice. It's unforgettable."

 

PIMM'S O'CLOCK FOR PHILIPPOUSSIS

Philippoussis built up a thirst as he rolled back the years on No.1 Court.

The Australian unsuccessfully scurried across to try and keep a point alive in his doubles clash partnering Tommy Haas against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

Philippoussis almost ended up on the front row of the crowd, but stopped himself before grabbing a spectator's Pimm's for an early-evening tipple.

He even posed for a selfie after sipping away casually with his legs crossed, drawing laughter from the crowd in an alternative happy hour.

 

ALCOTT MAKES HISTORY TO COMPLETE 'DYLAN SLAM'

Alcott won the first ever quad wheelchair singles title at SW19 with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Brit Andy Lapthorne.

Australian Alcott now holds ever major singles title, a feat christened the 'Dylan Slam' and the top seed was delighted after his triumph on Court 12.

"I'm trending on Twitter at home," he said.

"The AFL is on at the moment, and the NRL. I'm trending with them. People care and watch now. I love that, you know what I mean? So cool."

He added: "My dad said, 'Congratulations on your eighth Grand Slam.' I said, 'That's nine, champion.'"

 

BUBBLES BURST AFTER COSTLY UNFORCED ERROR 

There were no smiles outside a champagne bar when a lady knocked a bottle over earlier in the afternoon.

While not all of the bubbles were lost, it still proved to be a costly unforced error.

Thankfully the bottle did not smash, but the spillage created a racket as the women frantically attempted to limit her losses.

The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer continues on Sunday as the defending Wimbledon champion takes on the eight-time All England Club winner in the 2019 final.

A 48th career meeting will represent the 16th grand-slam clash between the modern-day greats, with this the fifth to decide a major title.

Of the four previous grand slam finals between the pair, two have come at Wimbledon and Djokovic has won them both.

As Federer seeks revenge in SW19, potentially setting up another classic, we take a look at those four past mammoth matches.

2007 US Open: Dominant Federer downs new rival

Djokovic's first major final appearance was incredibly Federer's 10th in a row - and that experience ultimately told for the Swiss star. Djokovic, then just 20, led by a break in all three sets but could not get the job done, squandering set points in the first two before tiring. A fourth consecutive Flushing Meadows success was Federer's reward for a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory.

"I think straight sets was a bit brutal for Novak, to be honest," Federer said. "He deserved better than that. He's had a fantastic run, not only this tournament but the entire year. I told him at the net 'keep it up'. We're going to have many more battles I think." He was not wrong.

2014 Wimbledon: Djokovic edges Wimbledon epic

If Sunday's clash is anything like this one, we are in for a treat. Djokovic got his first major final win over Federer in thrilling fashion at the All England Club, triumphing 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4 despite letting championship point slip in the fourth and facing break points in the decider. It ended a run of three consecutive grand slam final reverses for Djokovic.

Boris Becker, Djokovic's coach, explained: "We were all dying out there, keeping it cool from the outside, but burning up inside. He had that match point, he served for the fourth set, but Roger wouldn't be Roger if he wouldn't always find another shot."

2015 Wimbledon: Novak denies veteran Federer again

Federer had been bidding to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title and become the tournament's oldest champion in 2014. He had another chance 12 months later but again found Djokovic in his path. It had appeared as though the Swiss would at least push the defending champion all the way when he won the second set tie-break 12-10, yet Djokovic proved too strong in the third and fourth.

Federer would eventually get his historic success in 2017, reflecting after that win: "I had some tough ones, losing to Novak. I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today with the eighth."

2015 US Open: More pain for Roger in New York

Although Federer did go on to get that precious eighth Wimbledon win, he had to endure another major loss to Djokovic first in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 All England Club defeat. The second part of an ultimate 'Novak Slam' came at Flushing Meadows, where the start was delayed by three hours due to rain but Djokovic kept his nerve in another epic, saving 19 of 23 break points.

Djokovic beat Federer again in the last four at the Australian Open en route to another title, but the two have not met at a grand slam since. Revenge might well be on the mind this weekend.

Roger Federer admits clashes with Novak Djokovic can be "brutal" for the loser given how well matched the two players are, but he is relishing Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Eight-time All England Club champion Federer's reward for a thrilling four-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals is a meeting with another fellow great in Djokovic, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut.

The two are certainly no strangers to one another, playing 47 times on the ATP Tour with Djokovic edging the overall record on 25 wins.

The world number one has also won their past two contests at Wimbledon and Federer expects fine margins to decide a hard-fought affair.

"It's the same as going into a Rafa match," the Swiss said. "I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, especially in recent years also a few times, there's not that much more left out there.

"When you know where the players go when it really matters, how much can you still surprise somebody?

"At the end of the day, it comes very much down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place, who's got more energy left, who's tougher when it really comes to the crunch.

"In tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes.

"I don't want to say always the better player wins, but sometimes it can be tough. Like [against Nadal], he could have broken in that last game somehow and we could still be playing. Who knows?

"I'm excited about the game against Novak. We've played each other so, so much. I don't mind that, I think it's more of a clear game plan.

"We had a great match against each other in Paris just recently [Djokovic won 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 7-6 (7-3)]. I hope we can back it up from there."

Federer's preparation for the showpiece will be limited, but he is confident he is well set to continue his fine form at Wimbledon.

"I don't have much energy to go train very much right now," he said. "Honestly, it's about recovery, hitting some balls [on Saturday], warming up the next day. But it's more in the tactics.

"I don't think there's much I need to do in terms of practice. This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read however many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

"It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result [against Nadal].

"It's been a rock-solid year from me, winning in Halle. The stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint, I can go into that match very confident."

Roberto Bautista Agut might return to Wimbledon on his stag party after losing to Novak Djokovic and one young spectator raised eyebrows as he read a book rather than watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal do battle.

Bautista Agut was due in Ibiza with a half a dozen friends this week, but they left the party island to watch him at the All England Club after he reached the semi-finals.

Defending champion Djokovic failed to read the script, knocking the Spaniard out in four sets on Centre Court.

There were gasps throughout the grounds as Federer and Nadal served up another classic, which the Swiss legend won to set up a showdown with Djokovic, but it seemed not everyone was totally captivated.

Catch up on what was happening at the grass-court grand slam on Friday.

BAUTISTA AGUT TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME

Bautista Agut was happy to miss out on a few days of celebration with his friends, but is ready to let his hair down over the weekend. And his time at Wimbledon may not be over.

"Now I think I deserve some vacations. We will have some time off after that," he said.

Asked about the Ibiza trip, he revealed: "We had everything reserved from Thursday or Wednesday until Sunday. They all knew before it was a small chance I would be here, me playing in the quarter-finals. Well, it was nice.

"I think they really had a good plan. They spent Wednesday in Ibiza. They came to watch a good match, the semi-final of Wimbledon. Maybe tomorrow we come back."

 

NOT ALL EYES ON CHAPTER 40 OF FEDERER-NADAL

It seemed impossible to take your eyes off a captivating 40th battle between Federer and Nadal.

Two of the all-time greats struck 83 winners between them, drawing roars of approval from a packed Centre Court crowd and thousands around the grounds.

Tickets were like gold dust for a pulsating contest that will live long in the memory, yet one young boy in the crowd was spotted reading a book rather than being transfixed on the action.

Here is hoping he did not miss too much of chapter 40 of their great rivalry.

COINS READY FOR LIFT-OFF

The coins used for the toss ahead of the finals will definitely not be scaling new heights.

NASA astronaut Drew Feustal took the pair of bespoke gold coins to space last year after All England Tennis Club chairman Philip Brook came up with the idea at the 2017 championships.

They travelled to the International Space Station aboard Mission 56 in a journey that will be featured in a new one-minute film called "The Coin Toss."

It will be the stars who are crowned Wimbledon champions who are feeling out of this world this weekend.

Roger Federer says his semi-final win over Rafael Nadal on Friday "had everything" and will go down as one of his favourite Wimbledon memories but he was glad when it was over.

Federer won another epic battle with his old foe 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 at the All England Club to set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic.

The Swiss legend produced a majestic performance on Centre Court 11 years after he lost to Nadal in a classic final the last time they met in the grass-court grand slam.

Federer has won eight titles at SW19 and ranks his win over Nadal as one of the best experiences he has had in the tournament.

Asked where it would rate among his displays in south-west London, Federer said: "Obviously extremely high. It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially because we haven't played in so long.

"It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there.

"It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

"But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.

"I felt like I played good throughout the four sets. I can be very happy."

Federer was in no mood to celebrate, though, with such a huge match to come on Sunday.

"Age kicks in. I know it's not over yet. There's no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy," he said.

"I think I can with experience really separate the two. If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I'd be speaking very different, feeling very different. There is, unfortunately or fortunately, one more.

"It's great on many levels. But I've got to put my head down and stay focused, you know."

Rafael Nadal expressed his sadness after he was beaten by Roger Federer in a classic Wimbledon semi-final but acknowledged his rival deserved to win.

Federer will face Novak Djokovic in his 12th final at the All England Club following a 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory on a glorious Friday.

Nadal beat the 20-time grand slam champion in an epic final the last time they met at SW19 in 2008, but was unable to pull off a repeat on Centre Court 11 years later.

The Spaniard was left to rue a chance to win the grass-court major for only the third time, but doffed his cap to the imperious Swiss master.  

"I'm sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity," said the 18-time grand slam winner.

"But at the same time I created another opportunity to be in another final of a grand slam. I just have to accept that was not my day. I played a great event. I take this in a positive way.

"At the same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever. Last year I had chances here, I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here.

"It was a tough one. He played a little bit better than me, I think. Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congratulations to him."

Novak Djokovic said he has had "enough support" from the Wimbledon crowd over the years and was not interested in complaining about it following his semi-final victory on Friday.

Djokovic - a four-time winner at the All England Club - beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 to book his spot in a sixth Wimbledon decider.

The Serbian appeared a little flustered at times as his opponent regularly enjoyed significant vocal support from the crowd.

And a repeat is likely on Sunday as Djokovic battles SW19 favourite Roger Federer in a much-anticipated final.

Asked if he felt "a lack of love and respect" from the Centre Court crowd, Djokovic responded: "No, I mean, look, I focused on what I need to do.

"At times they wanted him to come back to the match, maybe take a lead because he was an underdog in the match. I understand that.

"But I had enough support here over the years, so I don't complain."

Quizzed further about his frustration, the 32-year-old said: "It's nothing unusual. You go through these kinds of emotional moments, especially in big matches like this, all the time.

"I mean, at least on my side. Sometimes I show my emotions, sometimes I don't. It's nothing really in particular.

"There's always something that can take you out of the comfort zone. Sometimes you get frustrated. It's important to bounce back really quickly."

Speaking specifically on the challenge Federer would bring, Djokovic added: "We all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here. This surface complements his game very much.

"He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent. Just doesn't give you any same looks. He just rushes you to everything.

"I've played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect."

Federer is an eight-time Wimbledon champion but both finals he has played against Djokovic at the famous venue, he has lost. Federer's only win against Djokovic at Wimbledon came in 2012, when he won a semi-final in four sets.

There was a shake of the head from Roger Federer as he walked off Centre Court with roars reverberating around Wimbledon following another titanic tussle with Rafael Nadal.

Eleven years after he was beaten by Nadal in a classic final when they last met at SW19, it was the Swiss maestro who came out on top in the 40th edition of one of the great rivalries.

A buzz of anticipation over another epic showdown could be felt around the All England Club from the moment two legends sealed their passage into the semi-finals.

The thousands who packed into one of the most famous arenas on the planet perched on the edge of their seats as they witnessed the majestic Federer triumph 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4, setting up a clash with Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

For three hours and two minutes those fortunate to have a ticket were mesmerised, looking on in disbelief at an astonishing exhibition between two icons who have 38 grand slam titles between them.

There were 51 winners unleashed from the racket of Federer, the 20-time major champion, and 32 from Spaniard Nadal just over a month after he blew his old foe away in the wind at the same stage of the French Open.

The two sporting heavyweights were given a rapturous ovation as they strode out with a spring in their step in the sun, but you could have heard a pin drop when a mouthwatering contest got under way.

At the same auditorium where a sleeveless top revealed his bulging muscles and locks flowed to the bottom of his neck whey they locked horns in 2008, the intense Nadal still resembled a caged tiger ready to hunt his prey.

Federer, with a steely focus in his eyes, was like a coiled spring a month before he turns 38, coming forward at every opportunity as they traded punches in a tight first set.

It was first blood Federer after he twice came from a mini-break down to win a tense tie-break, but Nadal yanked up his sweat bands and barely put a foot wrong as he charged around the court at blistering speed to level a gripping match.

There would have been concerns for Federer fans when he skewed a forehand high into the crowd, yet he was calmness personified in the third, racing across the turf and aggressively moving a set away from another final.

Federer won a 25-shot rally in that third set and showed no signs of fatigue in the fourth, swatting away a majestic inside-out cross-court forehand winner before breaking to lead 2-1.

A rattled Nadal bellowed in the direction of his box as a calm Federer continued to draw gasps from the stands and way beyond in another masterclass.

Yet Nadal was never going to go down without a fight and many rose to their feet when he fizzed a thunderous backhand beyond Federer before he had a chance to react.

Nadal saved four match points in style, but Federer lifted his arms into the blue sky on a glorious Friday evening after reaching a 12th Wimbledon final.

He was among the majority who were shaking their head at the latest incredible show he and Nadal had served up. 

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