|Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC|
|Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July|
|Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details|
Roger Federer says the “stars are aligned” after beating rival Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon final.
The Swiss, chasing a ninth Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title, will face world number one Novak Djokovic after a 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 win.
He said his performance against Nadal in a match that “lived up to the hype” gave him confidence for the final.
“This is like a school: the day of the test you’re not going to read many books that day,” the 37-year-old said.
“I don’t think there’s much I need to do in terms of practice.
“It’s quite clear the work was done way before. I think that’s why I was able to produce a good result today. It’s been a rock solid year of mine, I won in Halle [for a record 10th time last month], the stars are aligned right now.
“From that standpoint I can go into that match very confident.”
‘Age kicks in’ – Federer
Federer, who turns 38 in less than four weeks’ time, will become the oldest finalist here since Ken Rosewall in 1974.
While his years on the clock have not stopped him reaching a record-extending 12th Wimbledon men’s singles final, they are keeping his celebrations in check after his victory over Nadal.
“Age kicks in. I know it’s not over yet,” said the Swiss, who is now into his fifth final at the All England Club since turning 30.
“There’s no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy.
“I think I can with experience really separate the two. If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I’d be speaking very different, feeling very different. There is, unfortunately or fortunately, one more.”
He said Friday’s victory over Nadal, which was their first meeting at the grass-court Grand Slam since their epic 2008 final which the Spaniard won, would go down as one of his favourites to look back on.
“It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well,” he said. “Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there.
“It had everything at the end, which was great. I’m just relieved it’s all over at this point.”
‘We are not done’ – Nadal
Nadal said Federer had deserved the victory, adding he himself had not played as well as in previous rounds and by the time he started finding his game towards the end of the match it was too late.
“I think his return was better than my one this afternoon. I didn’t receive well today,” the 33-year-old said.
“I think today the backhand didn’t work as good as in the previous rounds. I was little bit too worried about my backhand, so I was not able to move with freedom to the forehand.”
Nadal managed a smile when asked – for what he sighed was the 1,000th time – about the rivalry between himself, Federer and Novak Djokovic, who between them hold 53 Grand Slam titles – and soon to be 54.
Between them, come Sunday, they will have won the past 11 major titles.
And, helped by the fact the next generation is still failing to break through in a meaningful way, they are not finished yet.
“It is great to be part of this rivalry, be in the middle of these three players that achieved that much in this sport in the same era,” he said.
“It is something that is going to be difficult to see it again. We are not done, so… things continue.”