Few tennis matches have seemed as fated to be classics as the one that was played on Wimbledon’s Centre Court on July 6, 2008. The skies over southwest London were ominous that afternoon, but anticipation had rarely run higher. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were about to face off in another final at the All England Club.
TENNIS Magazine presents: an oral history—and 10th anniversary celebration—of the greatest match ever.
TRAILER: Strokes of Genius, sponsored by Humana
Part 10: Tension on every point
Beth Wilson, Photographer; founder of former fan website NadalNews.com: Through the third and fourth sets, I got more and more invested in the match. The whole time, neither Nadal or Federer really went off their games or gave anything away. It was tension on every point.
When Rafa blew it in the fourth-set tiebreak, I’d been sitting there for hours, but I couldn’t stop watching now. When he finally won, I really loved his celebration. He had been so serious for so long, and then he let it all out—fell down, climbed into the Royal Box with the camera flashes going off. I liked seeing that emotional switch in him.
After it was over, I signed up for cable and looked to see when the next tournament was. In 2009, I saw my first live tennis match; since then I’ve traveled around the world to see it. Rafa and this match were my way back into the sport.
Follow the entire oral history at TENNIS.com/StrokesOfGenius
A LANDMARK DOCUMENTARY DURING THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT IN SPORTS, CELEBRATING THE UNPARALLELED FEDERER-NADAL RIVALRY AND 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREATEST MATCH EVER PLAYED.
In association with All England Lawn & Tennis Club, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment and Amblin Television. Directed by Andrew Douglas.