The 125th Wimbledon Championships are here and so is a huge opportunity for Roger Federer to add to his record 16 Grand Slams. But, also for Rafael Nadal to once again spoil his party. The two have not faced each other at All England since the epic 5-set final in 2008 that ended in Nadal's maiden Wimbledon win. A final arguably regarded as the best ever. We can hope and pray to see a repeat this time as both men are once again in different halfs of the draw and Federer seems to be playing a lot better than he has in the last one year.
Even though we did see them face-off in the French Open final only less than 3 weeks ago, their contest at Wimbledon is altogether a different ball game. On the clay courts of Roland Garros, Rafa is much stronger a player than Federer, but at All England's grass courts, the duo fight on more equal terms, even though it is Federer's favourite surface and tournament.
So while Nadal may have once again bested Federer at the French Open, he is going to have to play a lot better than his show in Paris this time, to top the Swiss star here. With a record-equalling 7th Wimbledon title, and also his reputation on the line, not only is Federer going to be doubly motivated but also looking to hit back at everyone - his competitors and his detractors who believe he is finished as a player - with a vengeance. And, what better a place for him to do that than the Centre Court of Wimbledon.
Only a fool would bet against Federer at Wimbledon. He may have exited the championship early in 2010, after a surprise loss to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, but this is his kingdom and the dethroned king is hungry to reclaim his crown. Federer hates losing anywhere, he's never been a good loser, but failing at Wimbledon is something he completely detests. He has always stated that winning this Grand Slam is always his No.1 goal of a season.
And, with Rafa successfully defending his territory at Roland Garros despite losing other clay court finals right before, Federer will be keen to do the same in what is his backyard. Even the World No.3 knows that as a player his time is running out, with age fast catching up, so he'll be looking to make the most of the upcoming opportunities. And, with Wimbledon so close to his heart, the 7th title must mean more to him than just another record waiting to be equalled or broken.