Nadal challenges Federer on the grass

The number one, Roger Federer, will try to win his 6th victory at Wimbledon. He faces Rafael Nadal who is more and more comfortable on the famous English grass.


Roger Federer won't be knocked out of his confident stride by Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Wimbledon final even if the Spaniard embarks on a Centre Court go-slow.

Nadal has come under fire in the past for the amount of time he takes between points which, when it exceeds 20 seconds, allows the umpire to issue a warning.

Federer admitted on Saturday that Nadal's slow-motion used to get under his skin.

"There's a fine line. He can take 20 seconds and then 10 or 15 seconds until he serves. It's a tricky situation," he said.

"But the unfortunate part is the umpire will always give him a warning, but he will never give him a point penalty. I'm not saying he abuses it, but he never really feels the heat that much.

"He's not as slow as he used to be. It's not gamesmanship but if it's on the edge I'm aware of it and then it's up to the umpire.

"It used to be irritating in the early days and I really felt he was playing very slow. I think he's speeded it up a little bit since those times. I actually felt like he was playing fair lately.

"He does still play slow, but not as slow as maybe eight matches ago when I played him. But it's up to the umpire. I don't think I win or lose a match because he takes five seconds extra per point. That's not going to kill me."

Nadal shrugged off any doubts over the time he takes between points.

"Everyone is free to say what they want. We have an umpire to decide what's happening on court," said Nadal.

The two great rivals will meet in a third successive All England Club final on Sunday, just a month after they clashed in a third French Open final in a row.

Federer is chasing an historic sixth successive title here while victory for Nadal will make him only the third man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season.

He would also be the first Spanish men's champion since Manuel Santana in 1966.

Federer said Saturday that their sixth Grand Slam final meeting, which betters the five played between Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl, and Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the 1980s and 1990s, will continue making him and Nadal better players.

"It's incredible that we have played so many times on big occasions," said the Swiss.

"With his results and not being the number one player in the world it must be hard for him just as it must be tough for those behind Rafa not to be number two."

Federer, unbeaten on grass for six years and on a 65-match winning streak on the surface, has been number one for 231 weeks; Nadal has occupied the number two slot for the last 154 weeks.

"Playing Rafa is the test I was hoping for. He's beaten me on clay, I have won on grass. Beating your main rival is always a real thrill," said Federer who suffered the worst defeat of his career at Roland Garros just four weeks ago.

"It's nice to have this chance on this surface and hopefully it will work to my advantage."


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