We are still here - Federer and Nadal relishing Centre Court reunion

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

Eleven years on from their last classic encounter at Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal declared "we are still here" as they prepare to do battle for a 40th time.

Rivals of two of the all-time greats certainly need no reminder of that ahead of their semi-final on Friday.

With 38 grand slam titles between them, Federer and Nadal have stood the test of time and they are still going strong.

The legendary duo could only have dreamed of what they would go on to achieve when they first faced each other in Miami way back in 2004.

Fast forward 15 years, Centre Court will be packed and millions will tune in all over the world for another mouthwatering episode of a captivating sporting rivalry.

Nadal won an epic 2008 final 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (8-10) 9-7 the last time they faced each other on the hallowed grass at SW19 and also came out on top in a last-four showdown en route to a 12th French Open title last month.

The Spaniard is expecting another almighty tussle with an old foe who secured a record 100th singles win at the All England Club at Kei Nishikori's expense on Wednesday.

"I expect to play against probably the best player in history on this surface and know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in that final." Nadal, 33, said.

"I had a lot of defeats [against Federer]. I had a lot of victories. The relationship never changed, always big respect, a good friendship. That will probably not change if I win or if I lose.

"I'm excited about this match, excited about this opportunity to again be in that round against him. The opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here."

The mutual appreciation between the duo was clear again when Federer spoke of the challenge he faces. 

He said: "Rafa has improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing 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 healthy he's stayed. We're still here so it's nice to play each other again."

Related items

  • Wimbledon champion Farah handed provisional suspension over positive doping test Wimbledon champion Farah handed provisional suspension over positive doping test

    Colombia's Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion Robert Farah was formally placed on provisional suspension on Tuesday following his positive test for a banned steroid.

    The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said the top-ranked men's doubles player had not exercised his right to contend why he should not be temporarily prevented from competing.

    Farah and the ITF had confirmed the positive out-of-competition test on January 14, when it was revealed the sample was taken on October 17, 2019, and contained the steroid Bolderone.

    He is not entered in the ongoing Australian Open and has blamed the positive test on contaminated meat, with Boldenone frequently used by Colombian farmers to boost growth in cows.

    As a matter of procedure, Farah has now been put under the mandatory suspension pending a hearing to resolve the case.

    The ITF issued a statement that said: "Robert Farah has been provisionally suspended under article 8.3.1(c) of the 2019 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, pending determination of the charge against him at a full hearing..."

    It added: "Mr Farah had (and retains) the right to apply to the chair of the independent tribunal convened to hear his case why the provisional suspension should not be imposed, but has chosen not to exercise that right to date."

    Farah, who turned 33 on Monday, partnered his fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal to last year's two grand slam wins.

  • Australian Open 2020: Alexander Zverev will donate entire $2.83m prize to bushfire relief if he wins event Australian Open 2020: Alexander Zverev will donate entire $2.83m prize to bushfire relief if he wins event

    Alexander Zverev says he will donate the full $2.83million Australian Open winner's prize fund to bushfire relief if he goes all the way to win the tournament.

    Speaking after his 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 first-round win over Marco Cecchinato, the German pledged to donate $10,000 for every match he wins in Melbourne and "every cent" of the winner's cheque if he goes all the way.

    Zverev also played in the Rally for Relief event with a host of other tennis stars prior to the Australian Open and has now made an individual gesture.

    "I will donate $10,000 for every match I win here," Zverev said in his on-court interview after beating Italian Cecchinato.

    "I know I'm not the favourite, but if I win this event I will donate every cent to the bushfires.

    "Obviously Australia is a country that is home for us for over a month every year. We heard what is going on with the bushfires, with the animals and with people losing their homes. So thank you very much, I hope we get a lot of support."

    Zverev had a dreadful performance at the ATP Cup as he lost all three of his matches, struggling with his serve in particular.

    He had four double faults and dropped serve three times in the win over Cecchinato, while hitting eight aces as part of 35 winners in a match that lasted two hours and 23 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

    Seventh seed Zverev was optimistic over the improvement he showed, adding: "It was a great first-round match, a lot of high-level tennis, especially from the baseline.

    "I hope maybe I can do better than the last few years. I'm a year older, not much wiser, but trying my best, practising hard and trying to do the right things."

  • Australian Open 2020: Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova through, misery for Maria Sharapova Australian Open 2020: Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova through, misery for Maria Sharapova

    Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova came through their first-round matches at the Australian Open, as Maria Sharapova suffered an early exit in the women's singles.

    Fourth seed Halep was handed a testing opener against Jennifer Brady, who had beaten Ash Barty at the Brisbane International this month.

    But the Romanian prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 in one hour and 36 minutes to join home hope Barty, defending champion Naomi Osaka and tournament favourite Serena Williams in round two.

    An up-and-down first set was crucial, as Halep twice recovered from a break down and saved three set points while Brady was serving at 6-5.

    Halep found a way to force a tie-break and then edged it 7-5 before running away with the contest in the second set.

    Wimbledon champion Halep also had to overcome a first-set fall that required the trainer to check on her wrist and joked she had also stumbled in her first match of the 2018 tournament, when she made it all the way to the final.

    "In 2018 it was the same, probably I can repeat that!" said Halep.

    "I don't know why in the first round always I fall down. Maybe it's a good sign but it's too far to think about that.

    "My wrist is pretty painful. I need to chill and recover for the second round."

    Second seed Pliskova earned a 6-1 7-5 victory over Kristina Mladenovic, losing serve just once in the 87-minute battle. The Czech faces Laura Siegemund next, while Halep will take on Harriet Dart.


    TOP 10 ALL THROUGH AS SHARAPOVA'S WOES CONTINUE

    Sharapova suffered her third consecutive loss in the first round of a grand slam following a 6-3 6-4 defeat against 19th seed Donna Vekic as the former world number one hit 31 unforced errors.

    A first-round casualty at Wimbledon and the US Open, Sharapova - who has been struggling for form and fitness - crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2010.

    Sixth seed Belinda Bencic won 6-3 7-5 against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, while Madison Keys was a 6-3 6-1 victor against Daria Kasatkina, as all of the top 10 seeds moved safely into round two.

    Elina Svitolina claimed a 6-4 7-5 victory in her match against Katie Boulter, while former grand slam champions Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza were winners against Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Shelby Rogers respectively. Muguruza won by an unusual 0-6 6-1 6-0 scoreline.


    KONTA AND VONDROUSOVA BOW OUT

    Johanna Konta, Marketa Vondrousova, Amanda Anisimova and Anastasija Sevastova were the seeds to fall on day two.

    An Australian Open semi-finalist in 2016, British 12th seed Konta suffered a 6-4 6-2 loss to Ons Jabeur.

    On the comeback trail following a tendinitis-related problem in her right knee, which forced her to withdraw from Brisbane and Adelaide, Konta was only making her second appearance since losing in the US Open quarter-finals last year.

    Konta said: "Ultimately the main thing was to start playing again, and I am. How I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September. Before Brisbane I had been out for almost four-and-a-half months."

    Czech Vondrousova, the 15th seed and French Open finalist last year, lost in three sets to Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova.

    Another rising star fell as 18-year-old American Anisimova lost out in a final set to Zarina Diyas, while home hope Ajla Tomljanovic emphatically accounted for Sevastova with a 6-1 6-1 triumph to book a round-two meeting with Muguruza.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.