Rafael Nadal knows what to expect when he meets Friday with Roger Federer in the semifinals of Wimbledon.th first meet at SW19 since their legendary final of 2008, won by Nadal 9 to 7 in the fifth set. Both have played three times at SW19, with Federer winning two of the three finals.
"[To] playing against Roger is always a unique situation. Excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. That means a lot to me and probably to him too, "said Nadal.
"Excited about this game, excited about this opportunity to be in this round against him again. I always say the same thing: of course there are fewer opportunities to play against each other, but we are still here. After tomorrow, we will have another chance.
"I only intend to play against the best player in the history of this surface and I know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to participate in this final. "
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The Spaniard continued Wednesday his ruthless round against the draw of Wimbledon, avenging his loss against Acapulco in 2017 against the American Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal lost only one set (second round, Kyrgios) and was beaten only twice during that fortnight. The southpaw was broken in the second set against Kyrgios and 5-4 in the first set against Querrey.
The return match of Nadal was equally impressive. He broke Querrey six times. The 6-year-old was only beaten once in 72 service matches before their quarter-final.
"The day was a very big challenge against a server like Sam … In general, I'm very happy with my way of playing, "said Nadal.
Flashback: Nadal beats Federer in Paris for the 12th final
All eyes will be on Federer-Nadal XL on Friday. Nadal won his last semi-final match at Roland Garros last month en route to his 12th Title of Roland Garros. But Federer thrived in his rivalry with FedEx ATP Head2Head (Nadal topped 24-15) when they played on faster surfaces.
"It's probably better to have that [Roland Garros] victory than to have defeat, of course. But on the other hand, the situation is completely different. [To] playing on the grass or on clay is probably the biggest change in the world of tennis, "said Nadal. "I think the player who will have the chance to play better … will be the player who is more likely to be played. That's all. This kind of match is like that.
Nadal's chances of returning to the semi-finals at Wimbledon seemed uncertain when he began his season on clay by losing in the semifinals of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. But the Spaniard quickly left behind his slow race on clay and has not lost since mid-May.
"In the world of sport, things change very quickly. You must always be ready to make changes in a negative or positive way. You have to accept both things with a calm and clear mind to understand what is happening later, "said Nadal.
"The last two months have been very positive for me personally, probably for Roger too, because he played well [to make the] semi-finals at Roland Garros. He had the title at Halle. He is now in the semifinals here again.
"This keeps us playing because we always feel that we have a chance to compete for the most important things. That's what really makes us keep playing with this intensity. "