"It is impossible to explain what I felt in that moment. Very happy to win this title, my favorite tournament. It's a dream to play in this court."
--Rafael Nadal, 2008 Wimbledon men's champion, after a 4-hour, 48-minute marathon.
Nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7, in the longest men's singles final on record at the All England Club, going back to 1877.
Nadal, the 21-year old Spaniard, won the first two sets, then lost back-to-back tiebreakers before winning the final set in extra time. Federer, who found himself in some horrific holes and kept managing to escape -- saving three match points -- finally hit the wall in the 16th game of the ultimate set. First, Nadal hit an unreturnable serve, then Federer hit a weak forehand into the net to end a spectacular era.
NBC broadcaster and three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe called it the greatest match he's ever seen. It certainly was one of the best. It included rain delays, which took the match into evening darkness.
Because of Nadal's determination and unrelenting tenacity, Federer failed to win his sixth consecutive title at Wimbledon. Federer will remain tied forever with Bjorn Borg at five in a row. Federer's 65-match winning streak on grass and a 40-match winning streak at Wimbledon also ended, one short of Borg's record.
By beating Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal joined Borg as the first man to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same summer in 28 years.
Excerpts from ESPN.com, 07/06/2008.