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This Wimbledon marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most famous matches in tennis history: Rafael Nadal’s victory over Roger Federer in the 2008 final at the All England Club.

It finished 9-7 in the fifth set as camera flashes lit the darkness.

It left a lasting impact on the sport and the two athletes involved.

“I’m sure that we’ll talk about it when we’re older,” Federer said, “in the rocking chair.”

Nadal, who had lost to Federer in the previous two Wimbledon finals, called it “a very important step forward for me,” and “one of the most emotional matches that I played in my career.”

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Switzerland's Roger Federer practises at The All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon on Sunday.BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Not surprisingly, Federer acknowledged “it was one of the hardest losses I ever had, no doubt about it” and he used the word “heartbreak” to describe the setback’s effect on him.

“It was a great match for many reasons. It also made me more human, potentially – the loss, under the circumstances,” said Federer, who was 5-0 in Wimbledon finals before that day and was trying to win a record-breaking sixth consecutive men’s title at the grass-court major. “But it was a great match to be part of.”

He said he had trouble remembering details of that day when he was asked about it in a recent TV interview.

“Honestly,” Federer said, “I think, for me, it was one of the matches I tried to sort of forget a little bit.”

A decade later, they still rule their sport.

Federer owns a record eight Wimbledon trophies while Nadal has two. Federer has a men’s record 20 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal is next with 17. They have split the past six major championships between them.

Nadal is ranked No. 1, and Federer is No. 2. Federer is seeded No. 1, and Nadal is No. 2.

Here is what else to know before play starts Monday at the year’s third Grand Slam tournament:

Williams sisters

Serena Williams is in the field for the first time since 2016, after sitting out last year while pregnant. She has won Wimbledon seven times, including in 2015 and ‘16, part of her collection of 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Her older sister, Venus, is a five-time champion at the All England Club and was the runner-up to Garbine Muguruza last year. While Serena is 66-1 for her career in first-round matches at majors, Venus enters having lost two Grand Slam openers in a row for the first time – at the Australian Open in January, then the French Open in May.

Can Kvitova get No. 3?

The British bookmakers’ top-two favourites for the women’s title are Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova, a lefty who was the champion in 2011 and ‘14. Kvitova’s status is truly remarkable, considering her racquet-swinging hand never fully recovered from a knife attack at her home in the Czech Republic in December, 2016. “It’s not 100 per cent. Will never be 100 per cent,” Kvitova said. “I’m happy I do have my fingers.”

No Murray

Only four men have won a Wimbledon title in the past 15 years, but one of them, Andy Murray, will not be in the field this time, because he is not ready to play best-of-five-set matches less than six months after undergoing hip surgery. In 2013, Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He won it again in 2016. Add that pair to Nadal’s pair, Federer’s haul and Novak Djokovic’s three trophies, and the so-called “Big 4” have accounted for every championship at the All England Club since 2003.

Sharapova returns

Maria Sharapova is back at Wimbledon for the first time since 2015, after being forced to sit out the tournament during a 15-month doping ban, then missing it because of an injury a year ago, when she would have needed to try to qualify because her postsuspension ranking was too low to get in automatically. Sharapova won the first of her five major titles at Wimbledon in 2004 when she was 17, beating Serena Williams in the final.

Sunny days

The weather is always a top topic of conversation around these parts, and the forecasts for Week 1 are promising, with the temperature expected in the high 20s C and plenty of sun. As of now, only Thursday shows signs of possible rain.

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