Roger Federer set to play ‘special’ final match of career on Friday with Rafael Nadal in the draw
Roger Federer has been drawn to play for a record 15th time in the final of a grand slam tournament, and it is a match that he says will have “special meaning from my perspective”.
Federer, who will turn 40 next week, has never won the US Open after becoming the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Opens in 1998, 2001 and 2002.
However, he has won 18 majors, and if he plays a final of his own this week he will become the first man to win them all without dropping a set in any of them – and he has already got the last word in the most famous final on the tour.
In 1997, Federer, then ranked world number one, made a sensational run to the last eight before losing to his good friend and the second-ranked Rafa Nadal in a match which was stopped after 13,531 points of the match were scored.
It took eight sets to complete, and both men eventually lost in the quarter-finals. However, the match has gone down in tennis history. In particular, it is the only instance in which Federer and Nadal have faced each other in a grand slam singles final, and has served as the greatest rival, and the greatest friendship, between Federer and Nadal.
“It is a match where there is a lot of history,” Federer told reporters. “That’s why in my situation I am a bit more excited and more excited for the experience of playing against someone who is ranked number one in the world.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that I beat him or that he beat me. For me, that’s not the way to approach a tennis match. I do not want to be comparing myself to the top guys that I beat. That’s not the measure of being a tennis player.”
Nadal, on the other hand, said he had no regrets about losing to Federer in 1997. He has often described the match as a “one of the greatest matches of all time”.
“I would like to say that the match was one of the greatest matches that you will play against someone,” he said when asked about his famous loss to Federer