Federer, Nadal to renew rivalry

LONDON: Roger Federer returns to Wimbledon as the defending men’s champion and while Rafael Nadal sits on the opposite side of the draw, the two tennis greats will be reminiscent of the extraordinary final they played 10 years ago.
The 2018 edition starts on Monday with the pair ranked second and first in the world — a decade on from when they produced an all-time classic on centre court.
In 2008, Federer and Nadal entered their third consecutive final showdown with Federer aiming to surpass Bjorn Borg’s record of five straight Wimbledon titles, having equalled the record the year before. That record wasn’t broken as Nadal prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7 but together, the pair wrote both their names in the history books for completing the longest Wimbledon final in a four hours and 48-minute marathon battle.
Now much older at 32 years of age, Nadal says a gladiatorial contest like that is unlikely to happen this year.
“The way that I read tennis is probably a little bit different today than 10 years ago,” said the current world number one.
“That’s how it works. I am not 20 any more.  I am not thinking everyday about that final. I am just focused on what I am doing today. But of course in that moment, that final have been a very important step forward for me in my career.”
Other former champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are at various stages of coming back from injury while Marin Cilic, 2014 US Open champion and beaten Wimbledon finalist in 2017, will also fancy his chances.
In the women’s draw, all eyes will be on seven-time champion Serena Williams due to a seeding controversy.
The 36-year-old American returned to Grand Slam action last month in Paris after giving birth to her daughter Olympia last September.
And despite being ranked 183rd in the world because of her inactivity, Wimbledon named her as the 25th seed, given her history with the tournament as a former champion. World number one Simona Halep will be hoping to continue momentum on the grass after her maiden slam victory at Roland Garros, while Garbine Muguruza defends the Wimbledon ladies championship as the third seed. — dpa