Comparing Federer-Nadal at 2017 Australian Open to 2008 Wimbledon final

The calendar has moved on, but many of your questions remain — understandably — in Melbourne. We’ll take a few more questions this week, off the 2017 Australian Open but then let’s move on, shall we? Too much good tennis being played elsewhere….

As an unabashed Fedophile, I’ve childishly had a bee in my bonnet about the impact of the fading daylight on the outcome of the 2008 Roger vs. Rafa Wimbledon final…and I’ve affixed my own asterisk to that match as the greatest ever played. Fast forward nine years to the ’17 AO men’s final — a match not many of us saw coming. Would you share your thoughts comparing and contrasting the quality of the two matches? (Perhaps with a stroke of luck, we’ll see a book on the topic?! Lots to discuss: Age, injury, equipment, coaching influences, backhand strategies…)
 — Paul F. Guimond, Framingham, Mass. 01701

• First, the zip code is a nice touch.

You’re right there’s a great discussion here. I don’t know where to begin, but perhaps here: I have zero objectivity. In fact, I have a vested interest in preserving the 2008 Wimbledon final as the greatest match ever played. Pressed to mount a defense, I’d start with the scoreline: 6–4, 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 9–7 versus 6–4 3–6, 6–1, 3–6, 6–3. Statistically, the Wimbledon match was cleaner. Fatigue was less of an issue. From a context standpoint: Federer and Nadal were one/two at the time, and had played in final of the previous major. (In Australia, they were №9/17 and neither made a final in all of the previous year.) Vaunted Centre Court versus an arena. A match in diminishing daylight (the last Centre Court played without the possibility of lights) added still more intrigue and symbolism.

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