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Rediff.com  » Sports » 'It's about winning, not beating Federer'

'It's about winning, not beating Federer'

Last updated on: July 05, 2008 16:38 IST

What counts at Wimbledon and any Grand Slam is the title rather than who one beats in the final, French Open champion Rafael Nadal said on Friday.

- Federer, Nadal romp into final

Nadal will meet five-times champion Roger Federer, the world number one, in their third successive Wimbledon final on Sunday looking to wrest the crown from his biggest rival.

"Here the prize is to win Wimbledon and not to beat Federer," Nadal told reporters after his three-set victory over unseeded German Rainer Schuettler in the semi-finals.

"I don't think it matters who you beat," the 22-year-old Spanish world number two said.

- Borg changes tune on champion

Nadal's rivalry with Federer has been marked by the Spaniard's dominance of the Swiss on clay at Roland Garros and the reverse on the grass of the All England Club.

"This has been a time in which I have always had to face the best," Nadal said of the succession of finals in which he has met Federer since 2005.

"That makes it more complicated to win."

Nadal has beaten Federer in the last three French Open finals after winning their first Roland Garros encounter in the 2005 semi-finals. He leads their overall record 11-6.

He has allowed Federer only one victory in their 10 meetings on clay, at the German Open last year.

Federer, 26, has won their two Wimbledon finals with last year's a very close match that went to five sets.

Nadal said the fact that he had crushed Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open final last month had no real bearing on Sunday's decider.

Nor did he consider significant that he had won the warm-up grasscourt tournament at Queen's Club before Wimbledon.

"I'm convinced that he has to be the favorite...also because he is the number one," said Nadal.

"It's logical to have a slump at some time... You have to go through a slump in order to win the great tournaments," he said.

Federer has worked his way back from a tough start to the year after a bout of glandular fever. He did not win a title until Estoril in April, a slow start by his standards, and has added only the Halle title on grass.

His form at Wimbledon has been brilliant.

"I think he's the best player in history, I don't know on grass," said Nadal.

"(Pete) Sampras has seven," pointing to the American's as the record on which to be judged on grass.

"Hopefully he (Federer) has five," Nadal said, adding for emphasis, "I hope not six."

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