Thu, 17 Oct 2019

London - Behaviour was wilder in my day, says Wimbledon referee

Nadal, who suffered his first loss to Federer in a Grand Slam semi-final after winning on the previous four occasions, said it was a wonderful experience to be part of the great rivalry with fellow 30-somethings Federer and Djokovic.

Indeed - Andy Murray aside on two occasions - no other player apart from them has lifted the Wimbledon trophy since Australian Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

"We spoke about that one thousand times," said Nadal.

"The same time is great to be part of this rivalry, be in the middle of these three players that achieved that much in this sport in the same era."

If the increasingly harassed 'NextGen' group of players - who speak of the unbearable pressure they feel in trying to break up the trio's dominance - were hoping for light at the end of the tunnel Nadal offered none.

"It is something that is going to be difficult to see again," he said.

"We are not done, so... Things continue. Just another episode this afternoon.

"Of course, as I said the other day, we know that every time there are less chances to play against each other in these high quality matches.

"Was another chance this afternoon."

Nadal said defeat was tough but graciously congratulated Federer on being the better player on the day.

Nadal said 37-year-old Federer's qualities remain undimmed and constant.

"The same like all my career, no?" he said. "He is always able to do the most difficult things easy.

"He's able to move inside the court quicker than anyone.

"He puts pressure on the opponent all the time because he has the ability to take the ball earlier than anybody else.

"That's probably the most difficult thing to make that happen, and he is able to do it so well."

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