Roger Federer reached his 12th Wimbledon final on Friday, defeating old rival Rafael Nadal “in one of his favourite ever matches”, 11 years after he lost their epic 2008 title showdown at the All England Club, a match widely regarded as the greatest ever played.
The 37-year-old eight-time champion won 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the pair’s 40th career meeting to move into his 31st Grand Slam final where he will face defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Top seed and four-time winner Djokovic reached his sixth Wimbledon final, and 25th at the majors, with a nervy 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Spain’s 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
“Obviously extremely high,” said Federer when asked to rate his latest clash with Nadal.
“It’s always very, very cool to play against Rafa here.
“It’s definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at because it’s Rafa, it’s at Wimbledon.”
Federer is the third oldest to play in a Grand Slam final after 39-year-old Ken Rosewall featured in the 1974 Wimbledon and US Open finals.
However, he will have his work cut out on Sunday if he is to secure a 21st major title as he trails 15-time Slam winner Djokovic 25-22 in career meetings.
“Novak is the defending champion and he has shown that this week.
“He has been really solid. I will try and push him to the brink but it will be difficult as it’s not for nothing that he is number one’’. added Federer.
Djokovic, meanwhile, will be looking to add another Wimbledon title to the Australian and US Open crowns he already holds.
“This has been a remarkable tournament for me and to be in another final is a dream come true,” said the top seed.
“I had to dig deep, Roberto was playing his first semi-final at a Grand Slam and he was not really overwhelmed.
“It was a really close opening four to five games of the third set that could have gone either way thankfully it went mine.”
Federer won his first Wimbledon duel against Djokovic in the 2012 semi-finals but the Serb triumphed in the 2014 and 2015 championship matches.
Overall, Djokovic also holds a 9-6 edge in the Slams.
However, Federer said he won’t be over-awed by the challenge as he chases a 21st major and Djokovic targets a 16th.
“Age kicks in. I know it’s not over yet. There’s no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy,” said Federer.