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5 Reasons Why Nadal Beat Federer in the Wimbledon 2008 Final

5 Reasons Why Nadal Beat Federer in the Wimbledon 2008 Final

Rafael Nadal has won an incredible match against Roger Federer in the final of the 2008 Wimbledon. There have been many speculations whether Roger’s domination in Wimbledon is fading and whether Nadal has improved his game enough to threaten Roger on grass.

Roger Federer congratulates Rafael Nadal for his first Wimbledon
RYAN PIERSE / AFP / Getty Images
Here are 5 reasons why Nadal made it this year:

1. Greater hunger
Federer has won Wimbledon 5 times already, has 12 Grand Slam titles and has been No.1 in the world for the last 5 years. Nadal on the other hand has won only 3 French Open titles so far, lost twice in the Wimbledon final and has been #2 in the world for the last 5 years.

Nadal is obviously much more motivated to improve and to win against Federer than vice-versa.

2. More improvement
Rafael Nadal has improved his game much more in the last few years than Roger Federer. In my professional opinion, Federer has improved his serve and his backhand slightly compared to previous years.

Rafa on the other hand has added a completely new dimension to his defense with a great backhand slice, has improved his serve (speed and accuracy) a lot and above all, has added lots of pace to his shots. This was also noted by Mats Wilander and other tennis experts and this year’s Roland Garros.

3. Greater confidence
Nadal beat Federer easily in this year’s French Open and combined with other wins this year, he had better results than Federer. Nadal was very close to winning Wimbledon even last year, when he lost the final in 5 sets.

When Nadal considered last year’s achievement, his improvement and this year’s results, he must have felt much more confident of winning the title than Roger.

4. Going for something instead of defending it
When you are No.1, there’s no one else to overcome. But when you’re No.2, you’ve got only one objective – to beat No.1. Nadal has had a much clearer goal and thus invested all his energy into training and improving his skills to beat Federer on grass and other surfaces.

Roger on the other hand was very likely not as obsessed as Nadal when it came to his improvement and his goals. This of course could have tipped the scales in Nadal’s favor.

5. Never being negative
Roger got down on himself quite a few times during this Wimbledon including the final. Nadal on the other hand NEVER showed any signs of getting down on himself, becoming negative or giving up.

He is 100% focused on his goal and doesn’t allow the outcome to affect him. The match is over when the last ball is played and this is another important advantage Nadal has over Federer.

What can we expect in the future?

I think if Roger really really really wants to beat Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slams, he will have to start working really hard on taking his game to the next level.

It’s not really the strategy that he is lacking; it’s the execution of it that’s not good enough for Nadal. And let’s not forget Novak Djokovic who beat Federer in this year’s Australian Open semifinal and Andy Roddick who also scored his first win against Roger this year.

We’re in for a very interesting US Open 2008 in August this year. If you think that there are other reasons why Nadal beat Federer in this year’s Wimbledon final, please share them below…

Related posts:

Can Roger Federer Bounce Back? Does He Even Want To?
Federer Vs. Sampras Grand Slam Comparison – Who Had a Tougher Job?
Why Djokovic, Soderling And Berdych Can Beat Federer But Not Nadal
Why Roger Federer Lost To Nadal
Rafael Nadal Out Of The French Open 2009

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2008 at 9:28 pm and is filed under Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “5 Reasons Why Nadal Beat Federer in the Wimbledon 2008 Final”
Christy from Thank You Notes Site Says:
July 7th, 2008 at 6:36 pm
I just had to come and check your blog after that amazing match. The longest in history. In one of the interviews after the match Nadal commented that he just kept focusing on winning the match. I IMMEDIATELY thought of YOU.

I’ve got to say that while watching the match, I was so impressed that Federer could save so many match points and not let the pressure get to him. The last game of the last set of the longest final match in Wimbledon and both players were hitting such incredible shots like the game had just started. I kept thinking how mentally and physically fit that had to be. What a great time to be a tennis fan! I can’t wait for the US Open and to hear your thoughts. 🙂

Great post.

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Tomaz Says:
July 7th, 2008 at 10:53 pm
Hey Christy,

Yes, this was an incredible match! I was actually thinking of planning my next year’s Wimbledon visit since the time may be running out for these two to keep repeating such great matches…

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Marcel Says:
July 8th, 2008 at 2:56 am
I enjoyed the article but I cannot agree with 5 reasons as explained I think it was more the press pressure to push Nadal for a win than necessarily better performance. Honestly I can’t help myself but didn’t you guys notice the audience on the final being more favourable to Nadal?

If you can recall game 3:4 Nadal down on server in 2nd set – it was one Roger’s ball called long but we on the TV could see that it was still on the line. At 15:40 Roger was going for a drive volley when one person in the audience screamed just before Roger hit the ball and then he missed. I believe you can imagine how that distracts anyone’s concentration. Can you recall how Roger expressed his frustration after this ball and in what way? I can’t remember Roger ever express frustration and not of this amount so I guess there had to be something wrong. The very next ball had the same scenario any ball Roger hit on Nadal’s baseline was accompanied with huge noise from the audience.

I believe that this happened due to general mind set up to endlessly support Nadal even if it was really in the borderline of fair treat in sport.

Should Roger won this game he would not lose the set and the match would have different story and undoubtedly result.

I think in this particular game Mr. Umpire did not do a good job what was proved even later keeping the final going on in relatively dark stadium where all the responsibility for questionable calls was left to the players. I am asking why is the Umpire sitting there for?

I personally think that in this year finale commercial interest prevailed over equal treat to both finalists.

I hope there will be better treat at the Olympic Games and US Open.

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Daniel Says:
July 20th, 2008 at 10:25 am
I personally fully agree with the 5 reasons exposed as causes. I think it’s been hard for Roger to keep consistency over the years with no serious constant opponent until 2007. I believed then Roger got enough and was about to retire the same way as Bjorg and Henin. But he’s still here. I think he has changed his game to lower the risks from the beginning of his pro career…That helped him to rise up consistency and win so many time. But he has nothing of a real dinker (Nadal is the modern prototype) and should be more offensive, just as he was for the last correction given to Nadal in semifinal of Masters cup. Developing new tactical orientations of his game around a powerful cross short drive and a straight drop shot volley (the same as Tsonga in Australian’s 08 semi) will help him to play Nadal like the leftie he is.
I think Roger has been so successful that he’s loosing patience again (just like at the beginning of his career, with experience on top) in the game and lost again every opponent who keeps the ball in for a while with high bounces from lifting and neutralizing his serve. When he often won through tiebreaks he’s more on the edge now and loose just a few points.
He mentionned he developped e few new shots for Roland Garros but I haven’t been able to them more than now and then. His game based on neutralizing in the middle then drive inside out with pace and or short cross shots to attack always straight is now to predictive for the defensive game of Nadal. A defense is build to contain attacks and is not suitable for a wide range of them. Diversity and powerful short cross drive will help Roger from my point of view. If not, he’ll fall in the same trap as Andy, great “quite predictable” shots.

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Tomaz Says:
July 21st, 2008 at 6:48 am
Good points, Daniel. I think that Roger should play the exact “boring” strategy to Nadal that Nadal plays to him: Play to backhand again and again and again…

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jessey Says:
July 21st, 2008 at 1:28 pm
Nadal’s incredible fitness also seems to be a factor.
It seems to me that at multiple times during the match, Federer had to mentally pump himself up to reach the same level of speed and power and percision that Nadal was playing ALL through out the match. The fact that Federer was able to do that was incredible (especially at the tiebreaker of that infamous fourth set.)
But towards the end of the fifth set where there was not a quick win (tiebreaker,) the extra fitness began to show an edge, and it was clear that Federer was fading where as Nadal became even more focus.

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Tennis Drills Says:
July 22nd, 2008 at 3:10 pm
I agree pretty much with all your points. Nadal really did have the confidence and positive moves out on the court. However I think he struggled in landing the killer blow and allowed Federer to almost snatch the match back. Obviously this should improve as he gets older and more experienced with these “big time” tennis slam finals. All in all it was the greatest game of tennis I have ever watched and I look forward to more between these two giants of the tennis world.

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Amar Gogoi Says:
July 28th, 2008 at 7:01 am
The hard spanish flamenco rock overpowered the lucid swiss county song on a damp wimbledon afternoon and who is complaining? Roger needs only few days of lay offs in Swiss Alps all alone to re set his goals and may be a few drinks with John before moving to Flushing Meadows. Even God falters sometimes, Roger is human!!

Good reading any way.

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William Baly Says:
August 2nd, 2008 at 4:57 pm
I have noticed in many of Federer’s matches he doesn’t capitalize enough on break points. He loses concentration. This is evident on many of his matches with Rafael Nadal. You cannot go 1 for 10 on break points or lose 4-1 leads. He has lost leads in matches he should have one. I believe that Roger is the most talented player out there, but he has to concentrate harder, be more patient and aggressive when the opportunity arises, especially against Rafael Nadal.

At the previous French Open finals against Rafael Nadal he had opportunities in those matches which he let slip by. You cannot afford to do that against someone as determined as Rafa. If you watch the Pete Sampras/Roger Federer Wimbledon match, you see an aggressive Federer with an excellent serve and volley game. What happened to that guy? I am not saying that he needs to serve and volley on every point just that he needs to be more aggressive. He cannot afford to play that passive game where Nadal is hitting high topsin forehands to his backhand and controlling the points.

And lastly, Federer has to believe that he can beat Nadal. Personally, I think that he is the more talented player, and he should not be losing to Nadal. Nadal beats him with consistency, mental toughness and effort.

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okris Says:
August 25th, 2008 at 9:25 pm
I think Federer has a problem about his age, he can’t move so fast to balance like Nadal, so maybe if Federer wants get to win again, he must improve his attack, like play bravely at the net…

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Tom B. Says:
December 11th, 2008 at 6:11 pm
Hey guys,
It seems that none of you really play tennis or compete enough.
Sometimes one lucky stroke or placement of the ball decide a game and that could lead to set and match and so on….
The Rodger Nadal match 2 tennis gods could have gone either way like last year. To me it was the best match of the Century!!!!!

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Hannnns Says:
February 9th, 2009 at 7:44 pm
Well, actually Nadal had won four titles in Roland Garros before he went on to deny Federer a sixth successive success in Wimbledon.

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Josh Gaspard Says:
March 26th, 2009 at 2:50 pm
i do not agree with federer improving his backhand one bit! his backhand is pretty much why he lost! he was hitting easy balls out with his backhand. in 2007 and 2006 was his best years by far from 2008!

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hitch Says:
November 16th, 2010 at 6:41 am
I THINK THE REASON for why federer lost this is the same reason why he lost in australian open 2005 and rome 2006 ,althought i like federer style pretty much i dont agree with his pethatic die hard fans who say he was better in 2007 and 2006 and he is aging he is only 26 and with his easy going style he should nt complain about the phisical condition look how much nadal use the runing in his game and never complained about his phisical condition,i was a big fan of federer but iam now in nadal’s side not because he is starting to but because his fantastic and inthusiastic style is incredible and more entertining ,and i think nadal has something federer will never have wich his warior spirit, and i think there will be no other guy in tennis history will have the same qualities as nadal .the guy is a legend and he is the best not because he has better technique ability because federer has more technical ability than him but he is the best because has somethings i have never seen in a tennis game .and i dont care if he does nt win annother grand slam ,bacause its stupid to mesure greatness about how much slam you have look at rod laver and borg if they did nt stop playing tennis probly there records of slams will be unbeatable.

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Can Roger Federer Bounce Back? Does He Even Want To? Says:
July 16th, 2011 at 12:12 pm
[…] Roger Federer Bounce Back? Does He Even Want To? This year’s Wimbledon final loss of Roger Federer to Rafael Nadal was, in Roger’s words, the most painful loss he’s had in his career so […]