Rafa dominated from first point on and defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets 6-3 7-5 6-4. The win gave him an eighth career major title just past the age of 24. Nadal joins a list of greats that includes Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall. Just 5 players won more majors than Nadal: Rod Laver (11), Bjorn Borg (11), Roy Emerson (12), Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (16).

The world number one struggled in the early rounds, but played his best tennis when needed, especially against Andy Murray in semifinals and Berdych in final.

I think the biggest difference between us was that when he get a chance, he just took it, you know. He give me one in the second set, one in the third set, and none of them I can, you know, bring it to my side and just made a break.
That just show how strong he is. I think it was just really about the small difference.

Next goal for Rafa: to win the US Open, the only trophy missing to his impressive collection.

One year earlier, Sampras had beaten his archrival Agassi in final, and equalled Emerson’s record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles. He was expected to break the record in front of the US crowd, but had to withdraw just a few days before the 99 Us Open due to a back injury. Beaten in the semifinals of the 00′ Oz Open and in the first round of Roland Garros, Sampras entered Wimbledon injured (shin inflammation).

Had this been any other tournament, Sampras said following the final, he would have pulled out. But Wimbledon is not just another tournament and instead he decided to skip practice sessions. And it proved to be a good decision as he benefited from an easy draw. Before the final, the highest-ranked player Sampras faced was No. 56,
Jan-Michael Gambill. His opponents were in succession Jiri Novak, Karol Kucera, Justin Gimelstob, Jonas Bjorkman, Jan Michael Gambill, Vladimir Voltchkov and the popular Aussie Pat Rafter in the final.

Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras

Pat won the first set 12-10 in the tiebreak, then lead 4-1 in the second set tiebreak and had two set points. But Rafter blinked, Sampras escaped to level the match, and there was nothing left to do: Sampras was in the zone and nobody could have stopped him. Sampras captured his 7th and final Wimbledon title and broke Emerson’s record, defeating Rafter in four sets 6–7(10), 7–6(5), 6–4, 6–2.

Nice to see a very emotional Sampras (for once):

Pete Sampras

Sampras parents Sammy and Georgia:

Sampras' parents

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Wimbledon Centre Court

Men’s Wimbledon tennis statistics:

Open era records (since 1968):
Most titles, singles: Pete Sampras, 7 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000) and Roger Federer, 5 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012)
Most titles in a row, singles: Bjorn Borg, 5 (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980) and Roger Federer, 5 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
Most titles, doubles: Todd Woodbridge, 9 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000 (with Mark Woodforde), 2002, 2003, 2004 (with Jonas Björkman))
Most titles, mixed doubles: Owen Davidson, 3 (1971, 1973, 1974 (with Billie Jean King))
Most titles, all events: Todd Woodbridge, 9
Youngest winner, singles: Boris Becker, 17
Longest men’s final by time: Rafael Nadal d Roger Federer, 2008, 4 hours and 48 mins
Longest men’s final by games: Roger Federer d Andy Roddick, 2009, 77 games
Longest men’s match by time: John Isner d Nicolas Mahut, 2010, 11 hours and 5 mins
Longest men’s match by games: John Isner d Nicolas Mahut, 2010, 183 games

Court 18

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A repeat of a match played 12 months earlier at the same stage, this encounter between Pat Rafter and Andre Agassi is one of the most memorable Wimbledon semifinal ever. Ok, I’m totally biased because Rafter is my second all time favorite
player (after you know who). But this match is really entertaining and with high quality tennis: definitely a classic.

Andre Agassi

Pat Rafter

Two very contrasting styles: Agassi’s returns and passing shots vs Rafter’s serve and volley.

Pat Rafter

Andre Agassi

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Roger Federer

Last year Federer broke Sampras’ record of 14 grand Slam singles titles after an epic final against Andy Roddick. By winning this year’s Wimbledon he would equal Sampras’ record of 7 Wimbledon crowns.

Will Federer win Wimbledon this year?

  • Yes (63%, 10 Votes)
  • No (38%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Who is Federer's most serious contender?

  • Rafael Nadal (75%, 12 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (6%, 1 Votes)
  • Andy Roddick (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Personally, I can’t wait for a 2008 final rematch with Nadal!

Please share your comments!