After losing four finals to Rafael Nadal in 2006, Roger Federer was eager to change that at Wimbledon and extend his winning streak on grass. The world’s leading players reached the final at the All England Club a couple of weeks after playing for the title in Paris, shifting their rivalry to another level and surface. Nadal was the player to beat in Paris, and Roger was ready to make a proper response at Wimbledon, dropping one set in seven encounters to lift the fourth straight All England Club title. Roger beat Rafa 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in just under three hours for the 48th straight victory on grass, becoming the third player in the Open era with four consecutive titles at Wimbledon after Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras.
The Swiss played better on both the first and second serve, suffering two breaks from three chances offered to Rafa and stealing the Spaniard’s serve six times to seal the deal and write the record books. Federer had a clear advantage in the shortest range of up to four strokes and overpowered the rival in the more extended exchanges, forcing over 50 errors from Rafa to move over the top. Serving for the second set, Nadal got broken at 15 in the tenth game, losing the tie break 7-5 and bouncing back in the third to take it in the tie break and extend the duel. Still, Roger earned back-to-back breaks in the fourth set to topple the young rival and claim the eighth Major title just before turning 25.
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal for the fourth straight Wimbledon crown in 2006.
“The start of the match was absolutely perfect. I played fantastic tennis and didn’t miss a ball. It was over in no time, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I couldn’t keep that level in the second set, falling a break down and coming back in the last moment when Rafa served for it. That was another crucial moment of the encounter, as I played on a high level in the tie break to move two sets to love in front. It became harder for both of us, with the battle going on until early in the fourth set, when I took charge to bring the victory home. The main goal was to read his serve and place the return at spots where he can’t attack me with a forehand. Rafa started to serve better after the opener, and I did my best to create at least some damage on the return.
It’s incredible to win the fourth title in a row, especially after losing the final at Roland Garros to Rafa. He has improved his game a lot, and it’s not easy to beat him on grass, not to mention other surfaces. Those two finals were tough for both, with me trying to end his clay-court streak and him attempting to finish my grass-court run. Rafa started to hit the ball very hard towards the end, taking the spin away and going with flat strokes. I served well and took the rhythm away from him from the baseline; those were essential things. When it was all over, I couldn’t believe I did it again. I came to the final with a lot of confidence and in great physical shape. I’m trying to stay healthy and play well in every tournament; I’ don’t look at rivalry with Nadal that much,” Roger Federer said.