2018 Wimbledon vs. 2008 Wimbledon

What was the better quality match overall?

  • 2008 Wimbledon Men's Final: Nadal vs. Federer

    Votes: 14 58.3%
  • 2018 Wimbledon Men's Semi-Final: Djokovic vs. Nadal

    Votes: 10 41.7%
  • I can't decide!!!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    24
#1
Okay, so I didn't see the 2018 Wimbledon semifinal between Nadal and Novak live and watched the last set on two occasions on replay.

A few days ago I finally watched the match in its entirety because finding 5 uninterrupted hours for a replay isn't easy. And I have to say, I was blown away.

Now, I am a guy who views the 2009 match as more thrilling than 2008 because of the tiebreak comeback by Fed to level at 1-1 and the 16-14 final set, HOWEVER, I do understand the quality and drama of the 08 match. However my problem with 08 was always the absolute awful 1/13 BPs for Federer. Also the 66-41 UEs by Federer. Yes, the 4th set tiebreak and most of the 5th set was enthralling but the night came in and the quality dropped noticeably in those last few games because of it. So let me make the case for 2018 being the BETTER QUALITY match, not about legacy because it is of course a semi-final.

Opportunities
As stated, the 2008 match saw a total of 26 break chances, 13 for both players. Nadal converted on 4 and Federer just 1. The first two sets went 6-4 for Nadal while Federer came back to even with back to back tiebreaks. There were no break chances in the 4th set while Federer faced 6 in the 5th with Nadal saving the one and only BP faced.

The 2018 match should be remembered for the phenomenal service holds throughout. There was a total 30 and both men saved 4. There was 0 in the 3rd set but a whopping 9 in the 4th and 8 in the 5th. Unforced errors were 61-52 for Nadal, a much more even spread. And then there's the back and forth atmosphere. Djokovic drew first blood and alternated ultimately winning 10-8 in the fifth. The 3rd set tiebreak going 11-9 saw Nadal with the first opportunity at 6-5, again at 7-6 and again at 8-7 before Novak got two of his own and converted on the 2nd to win 11-9. The 7-7 battle in the 5th set was ridiculous and ultimately decided the match. Novak on serve went down 15-40 then faced one more in a total 5 deuces. Nadal saved a match point at 7-8 before finally losing the match 8-9.

The Numbers
The disparity of winners in the 08 match is another point of contention for me. Federer had 98-65 over Nadal, of course trying to make up for the more errors. In the 2018 match, Novak edged out Nadal only slightly 73-72.
The break chances again in 08 went 4/13 for Nadal, 1/13 for Federer. In 18 it was 4/19 Nadal and Novak 4/11. The first serve percentage was near identical in 2018 at 71.6% Novak and 71.4% Nadal while 2008 saw 67.7% for Fed and 74.3% Rafa.
Total points won in 2018 was 195-191 Novak, in 2008 it was 209-204 Nadal.


Conclusion
Obviously some will look at Federer and Nadal being younger and more in prime but the quality of the actual match leaves a lot to be desired. Yes the dramatic 4th set tiebreak where Federer squashed 2 match points to extend it was exciting but he never seemed like he could actually win. Nadal was not under pressure in the 3rd or even 4th set with winning the first two and as a Roger fan the break points really started to wear me down to the point I prayed he could win it, not having any confidence that he actually would. Nadal only faced 1 break point in the 5th and threw it away rather quickly. The 2018 match was more of a seesaw where you honestly could see either man taking it. Add to that no impending darkness and a 2nd day made it way more even and allowed for a complete slug-fest. I of course have watched the last 3 sets of the 08 match plenty of times but it's for nostalgia, outside of the 4th set tiebreak the match never felt even and more of an old man hanging on by a thread delaying the inevitable. Also, the story behind a match is meaningless towards the actual quality of the match, which is why I'm asking about quality than legacy because obvious is obvious.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#2
For better quality I'll pick the 2018 match. What I remember most about the 2008 match is Federer blowing a load of BPs with horrible slices right into the net, and even Nadal choked the 4th set TB with 2 bad errors when he was up 5-2 in the TB with 2 minibreaks. In the 2018 match I thought both guys played pretty well in the 5th and for most of the match all things considered. Nadal served very well by his standards in particular.

The 2008 match wins for drama, and the overall storyline though. It was the peak of the Fedal rivalry and the end of a trilogy of Wimbledon finals.
 
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#4
For better quality I'll pick the 2018 match. What I remember most about the 2008 match is Federer blowing a load of BPs with horrible slices right into the net, and even Nadal choked the 4th set TB with 2 bad errors when he was up 5-2 in the TB with 2 minibreaks. In the 2018 match I thought both guys played pretty well in the 5th and for most of the match all things considered. Nadal served very well by his standards in particular.

The 2008 match wins for drama, and the overall storyline though. It was the peak of the Fedal rivalry and the end of a trilogy of Wimbledon finals.
Agreed on all points. The drama aspect was even more pronounced because of the 2006-07 surface defenses but after the 08 French I felt Nadal was likely to win off momentum. So in that sense the 2017 Australian Open gets my vote for most dramatic Fedal encounter.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#5
Im loving Fed's kit this AO :)
I've liked all his Uniqlo outfits. Nike was coming out with some really weird stuff towards the end (ex AO 2017). I know that's a relatively uncommon opinion because Federer and Nike was such a powerful combo, and not many care for Uniqlo, but I like the simplicity of the Uniqlo design in general.
 
#6
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I think Wimbledon 2008 is the greatest match of all time. As other have mentioned, it's not only the quality of the game between prime Nadal and prime Federer. It's the tension, the drama, and the historical significance of Nadal defeating Federer at his favorite Major, when Federer was about to surpass Borg's record of 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles. And Federer gave the impression of being able to defeat Nadal until the very last moment. It just doesn't get any better than that.

At Wimbledon 2018 we saw another immortal classic in terms of level of play. But the historical significance was not that high as Nadal was not facing the grass GOAT in his prime and attempting to break Borg's 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles record. Also, the level of play at Wimbledon 2008 was higher. Nadal was at his absolute physical prime unlike in 2018. For those who have forgotten by recent bias, Nadal's level at Wimbledon 2008 was substantially higher than at Wimbledon 2018. His forehand, backhand, speed... everything was better.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#7
2008 Wimbledon final is far and a way the greatest most overrated match of all time, in terms of level of play. The story line of the clay specialist challenger beating the king was cute, but that's it.
 
#8
Even imo. Wimby 2018 def gave me feels I haden't had in a while. That was just a nutzo day of tennis with that match and Fed/Anderson. What a lucky crowd.
 
#9
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I think Wimbledon 2008 is the greatest match of all time. As other have mentioned, it's not only the quality of the game between prime Nadal and prime Federer. It's the tension, the drama, and the historical significance of Nadal defeating Federer at his favorite Major, when Federer was about to surpass Borg's record of 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles. And Federer gave the impression of being able to defeat Nadal until the very last moment. It just doesn't get any better than that.

At Wimbledon 2018 we saw another immortal classic in terms of level of play. But the historical significance was not that high as Nadal was not facing the grass GOAT in his prime and attempting to break Borg's 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles record. Also, the level of play at Wimbledon 2008 was higher. Nadal was at his absolute physical prime unlike in 2018. For those ahí have forgotten by recent bias, Nadal's level at Wimbledon 2008 was substantially higher than at Wimbledon 2018. His forehand, backhand, speed... everything was better.
I read something like this and only at the end do I get a pointer about the abilities of a player being better, which I expect but the quality of the actual match is what I'm asking in the OP and not that I think it's conclusive but Nadal really had it in control and I think it was more pronounced because of Federer's errors and sheer inability to steal a BP outside of I believe the 2nd set. This was when Roger started to shank more balls and his slices were sometimes painful to watch. His strategy in that match as well just didn't add up. Specifically in the 4th set tiebreak I felt Nadal just looked ahead to the title and made careless mistakes to allow Fed back in it. And Roger only having 1 break point in the entire 5th set while Nadal had 3 against Novak at 7-7 in the 2018 match really tilts the finality of the contest for me towards 2018.

Greatness vs. Execution is basically what we're looking at here. Federer's 2017 Aussie Run is maybe the Greatest of his career because of the low ranking, seeded players, three consecutive 5 setters, old rival and not having won a Slam in near 5 years, but it's not his best run by execution.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#11
2008 Wimbledon final is far and a way the greatest most overrated match of all time, in terms of level of play. The story line of the clay specialist challenger beating the king was cute, but that's it.
Strangely enough (or maybe not) it's mostly Nadal fans in my experience that like to overrate it in terms of level of play. Many Federer fans don't rate it super high, and I know you're not a Federer fan. Obviously Nadal gets full credit (from me at least), but I do think there was a serious carryover effect from RG that year. That match really shattered what little confidence Federer had left against Nadal at that point.
 
#13
Strangely enough (or maybe not) it's mostly Nadal fans in my experience that like to overrate it in terms of level of play. Many Federer fans don't rate it super high, and I know you're not a Federer fan. Obviously Nadal gets full credit (from me at least), but I do think there was a serious carryover effect from RG that year. That match really shattered what little confidence Federer had left against Nadal at that point.
I slightly agree, but the mental thing in Wimby 08 is overrated too. Had Nadal not gone toe to toe with him in 07 it would carry more weight, but he did.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#14
Strangely enough (or maybe not) it's mostly Nadal fans in my experience that like to overrate it in terms of level of play. Many Federer fans don't rate it super high, and I know you're not a Federer fan. Obviously Nadal gets full credit (from me at least), but I do think there was a serious carryover effect from RG that year. That match really shattered what little confidence Federer had left against Nadal at that point.
I think the main reason it's rated so high is the surrounding narrative and Nadal and Federer simply being the most hyped players of all time. Also, because it went 5 sets. And yeah fans are biased. But from what I remember 2007 was a bit better than 2008, but I haven't really rewatched them and I don't plan to. In a similar vein, 2004 was better than 2009, and really a lot of incredible 4 set matches are easily forgotten simply because they're not 5 set matches.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#15
I slightly agree, but the mental thing in Wimby 08 is overrated too. Had Nadal not gone toe to toe with him in 07 it would carry more weight, but he did.
I still blame Nadal losing RG in 2009 for Federer being clutch at Wimbledon.

Which I in turn blame for Federer winning Australia 2010.

Fed can have RG 2011 for all I care.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#17
Even imo. Wimby 2018 def gave me feels I haden't had in a while. That was just a nutzo day of tennis with that match and Fed/Anderson. What a lucky crowd.
I agree. The hype for the Wimby 2018 SF was real. It had been so long since I felt that sort of pre match excitement about a tennis match. Well since AO 2017, but that's still a big space of time. I remember match threads here in my first few years on the forum that would get to a ridiculous number of pages before the match even started.

And then it didn't seem the same for a few years until AO 2017 and then Wimby 2018.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#19
I slightly agree, but the mental thing in Wimby 08 is overrated too. Had Nadal not gone toe to toe with him in 07 it would carry more weight, but he did.
True. 2008 did feel like the year where Nadal would finally win. Or at least the year where you weren't surprised in hindsight that he did win considering the 2007 scoreline. Let's just say it all played a part. Tennis is such a mental game.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#20
I think the main reason it's rated so high is the surrounding narrative and Nadal and Federer simply being the most hyped players of all time. Also, because it went 5 sets. And yeah fans are biased. But from what I remember 2007 was a bit better than 2008, but I haven't really rewatched them and I don't plan to. In a similar vein, 2004 was better than 2009, and really a lot of incredible 4 set matches are easily forgotten simply because they're not 5 set matches.
Pretty much. It comes down to this. If the Wimbledon final delivers a dramatic 5 setter between the two biggest names of that time then the quality itself will be overrated. Personally, when it comes to tennis I generally overlook quality almost completely in favour of drama. All respect to the many people here that love their quality, but the dramatic matches will always be remembered more. No one except a diehard tennis fan cares much about quality, especially when the match is between two huge names.
 
#21
I agree. The hype for the Wimby 2018 SF was real. It had been so long since I felt that sort of pre match excitement about a tennis match. Well since AO 2017, but that's still a big space of time. I remember match threads here in my first few years on the forum that would get to a ridiculous number of pages before the match even started.

And then it didn't seem the same for a few years until AO 2017 and then Wimby 2018.
I miss those feels man, they don't happen enough these days anymore. I was screaming like I was during Madrid 09 at some points :D seems like we used to get epic matches all the time.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#23
those stats are from TA.
Atleast the 08 one is messed up.

Official stats is 89W to 52 UEs from fed
60 W to 27 UEs from Nadal
 

3lite

Professional
#24
True. 2008 did feel like the year where Nadal would finally win. Or at least the year where you weren't surprised in hindsight that he did win considering the 2007 scoreline. Let's just say it all played a part. Tennis is such a mental game.
Federer was lucky to win in 2007.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#26
oh and quality-wise, I'd go : 2007 > 2008 > 2018.

yes, some flaws in 2008 final, no doubt, but it had higher highs more than making up for that.
and obviously fed-nadal in their physical primes in 08 unlike djoko-nadal in 18.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#28
Clutch is when you look like you actually believe you can do it even when the cards are stacked against you.

Being lucky is when you look like you've mentally gave up when the cards are actually in your favor.
yes, so Fed saving 2 BPs each at 1 all and 2 all in the 5th set with excellent play is being clutch.
Also breaking in the next return game with 3/4 winners.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#31
I miss those feels man, they don't happen enough these days anymore. I was screaming like I was during Madrid 09 at some points :D seems like we used to get epic matches all the time.
Yeah I know, and I think it's partly nostalgia talking here, but I miss watching guys like Agassi, Blake, Roddick, Hewitt, Nalbandian and a few more, the second tier guys behind Federer and Nadal back then. These days I have no interest in watching Zverev, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Medvedev etc... Styles are all way too similar. Even a guy like Tsonga who I liked a lot is basically retired.

Now I watch Federer the most obviously, Nadal a bit less than him, and Djokovic a bit less than him, but I don't like the styles of any younger players, and I think that's sort of affecting my interest. Maybe it's my problem, but I think it's an overall tennis problem, lol. I really do think tennis is in desperate need of an epic slam final between 2 younger guys, but the problem is Fedalovic are more talented and they won't just roll over.
 
#32
Yeah I know, and I think it's partly nostalgia talking here, but I miss watching guys like Agassi, Blake, Roddick, Hewitt, Nalbandian and a few more, the second tier guys behind Federer and Nadal back then. These days I have no interest in watching Zverev, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Medvedev etc... Styles are all way too similar. Even a guy like Tsonga who I liked a lot is basically retired.

Now I watch Federer the most obviously, Nadal a bit less than him, and Djokovic a bit less than him, but I don't like the styles of any younger players, and I think that's sort of affecting my interest. Maybe it's my problem, but I think it's an overall tennis problem, lol. I really do think tennis is in desperate need of an epic slam final between 2 younger guys, but the problem is Fedalovic are more talented and they won't just roll over.
well the stylistic differences are finally starting to emerge among the younger players. zverev is of course the apotheosis of the 'modern game' power baseliner, not a ton of imaginative flair but the guy's effective. but then we've got tsitsipas, shapovalov w the one-handers, the scrambly, fiesty deminaur, khachanov like a bigger courier maybe...there's some variety brewing. tough for a 'magician' to stand out with so much power in the game, not sure if we'll get another santoro for example anytime soon. you know who's game is kind of interesting is cam norrie, not at the highest level yet but showed some nice hands and variety in auckland.
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
#33
2008 over 2018 for me.

In terms of quality though, in recent times, there are 2 other Wimbledon matches I rate higher/better:

- 2007 Final
- 2013 SF Djokovic vs Del Potro.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#34
Federer was lucky to win in 2007.
I know all you want is a response so you'll be gratified now that I've given one here, but quite honestly I've never understood the point of these bait posts. You do realize that I and anybody else that actually watched that final is laughing really hard at you right now, yes?
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#35
well the stylistic differences are finally starting to emerge among the younger players. zverev is of course the apotheosis of the 'modern game' power baseliner, not a ton of imaginative flair but the guy's effective. but then we've got tsitsipas, shapovalov w the one-handers, the scrambly, fiesty deminaur, khachanov like a bigger courier maybe...there's some variety brewing. tough for a 'magician' to stand out with so much power in the game, not sure if we'll get another santoro for example anytime soon. you know who's game is kind of interesting is cam norrie, not at the highest level yet but showed some nice hands and variety in auckland.
Yes there are some stylistic differences. I think it might just come down being forced to watch them if I want to watch the late rounds at GS, frankly. For the last few years I've been able to ignore them because none of them except Thiem (who will always lose at RG to a decently playing Nadal) make it deep in slams.
 
#37
I slightly agree, but the mental thing in Wimby 08 is overrated too. Had Nadal not gone toe to toe with him in 07 it would carry more weight, but he did.
He did yeah but it's slightly different because Nadal should have won 2008 in 4 sets maximum. Federer was 2 sets to 0 down vs Nadal which is a pretty big difference. It was only when down 0-2 that Federer got his act together and then Nadal choked as well which levelled up the match. In 2007 though it went 5 sets Fed always looked in control, until Nadal levelled at 2 sets all, but in the 5th if was Fed who stepped on the gas. In 2008 it looked like he was trying not to lose.

Don't get me wrong though Nadal deserved the win and deserved the mental upperhand he had, and not many players could have beaten Federer that day even with those things considered.
 
#38
Drama wise yeah 2008 had more riding on it, but I agree it never felt like Fed could really win it except maybe the first few games of the 5th set.

2018 was anyone's match, I'm not sure if the quality was as good as 2008 or 2007, but it was a more competitive match with some excellent tennis
 
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