HAMBURG, Germany - Roger Federer may not be playing the clay court season in 2017, but we have more than enough fond memories of him to keep celebrating him anyway - and 10 years ago, on May 20, 2007, he snapped Rafael Nadal’s insane 81-match clay court winning streak in Hamburg.
Nadal’s unbeaten run on his favorite surface had been going for more than two years - his last loss had come against Igor Andreev in the quarterfinals of Valencia all the way back on April 8, 2005. On top of that, he had never lost a final on clay - and he had never lost to Federer on clay, either.
And for a while it looked like he would continue all of those streaks. He raced through the first set, 6-2. But Federer mustered up some of the best clay court tennis he’s ever played, rebounding with his own 6-2 second set and then blanking Nadal in the third for a 2-6 6-2 6-0 championship win.
A Nadal forehand into the net on match point ended his Open Era record clay court winning streak.
Check out highlights from the 2007 Hamburg final here:
“It’s an absolute breakthrough,” Federer said afterwards. “It’s just nice to be playing well again. It’s not that I was playing so badly, but it’s my first clay court title in a couple of years, so that’s great.
“I’m feeling very good going into the French Open.”
“I made more mistakes than usual,” Nadal commented. “But I came here and played some of my best tennis during the week, and I can’t be sad that I lost one match to the world’s best player.”
Nadal would get revenge a few weeks later in the French Open final: