Djokovic v Federer - three Wimbledon meetings

The umpire performs the coin toss ahead of the Men's Singles semi-final

Credit GETTY IMAGES

Federer knew it wouldn't be easy against his great rival. "He played really well", Djokovic said. "I'm just very relieved it's all over".

Nadal was denied the opportunity to win a third Wimbledon and 19th Grand Slam title, with Federer being handed the chance to win his 21st Major.

"Obviously, I'm ecstatic, I'm so happy", said Federer.

Djokovic isn't too shabby himself. It had appeared as though the Swiss would at least push the defending champion all the way when he won the second set tie-break 12-10, yet Djokovic proved too strong in the third and fourth.

"We had a great match against each other in Paris just recently [Djokovic won 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 7-6 (7-3)]".

It took Federer five match points to finally defeat Nadal in what was the legends' 40th career meeting.

In this generation of tennis it was Federer who set the pace and Nadal who followed suit, and perhaps that is why this match-up is looked upon with such gushing eyes.

How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch?

In terms of anticipation, the Djokovic-Batista Agut semifinal felt like an undercard compared to the Federer-Nadal clash in store.

Quickly, that greeting was justified.

One would not have expected, back in 2008, that these two titans of tennis would still be going mano-a-mano more than a decade later amidst the new guard hellions of the sport, the flashy Next Gen studs who performed so disappointingly over the last fortnight.

For some reason, he has never quite captured the hearts of the Centre Court crowd in the same way as Federer, Murray or Rafael Nadal, but insists that will not affect his focus.

Djokovic, meanwhile, will be looking to add another Wimbledon title to the Australian and US Open crowns he already holds.

"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", said Nadal, who was also beaten in the semi-finals a year ago by Djokovic.

Here's all you need to know ahead of Friday.

Roger Federer in action against Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon. "First set, he was still probably managing his nerves and he made some uncharacteristic unforced errors".

Like all great sporting rivalries, there is no doubt that both Federer and Nadal are a major cause for each other's respective success.

While Federer had a slightly tougher draw, one still expected him to saunter into the semi-finals.

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"But at the same time I created another opportunity to be in another final of a Grand Slam".

Overall, Djokovic holds a 9-6 edge in the Slams.

So for now, as Federer prepares to face Djokovic on Sunday, Nadal will leave Wimbledon one match earlier than he wanted, for the second year in a row.

The Serb, a four-time champion, heads into the championship match against Federer with 25 wins over the Swiss and 22 losses. I will try and push him to the brink but it will be hard as it´s not for nothing that he is number one. "We're going to have many more battles I think".

This one felt like just as much of a classic contest, though, one that anyone present is not likely to forget.

On Friday, Djokovic was as animated as ever.

Djokovic was broken once in the second set, allowing Bautista Agut to even the score. Nadal saved another two match points with breathtaking backhand winners.

Even Bautista Agut didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. Instead, those pals were sitting in a guest box at Centre Court on Friday.

Djokovic rediscovered his best abilities, though.

Now he's Federer's problem.

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