Behold! The New King of Grass

Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federer’s five-year reign at Wimbledon on Sunday, winning a riveting, five-set marathon to claim his first title at the All England Club and signal a changing of the guard in men’s tennis.

Nadal held off a stirring comeback by Federer from two sets down to prevail 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. He became the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980.

Nadal, the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon since Manolo Santana in 1966, avenged his losses to Federer in the last two finals here and snapped the Swiss star’s All England Club winning streak at 40 matches and overall grass-court run at 65.

The rain-delayed match ended in near darkness after 4 hours, 48 minutes of play — the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history — when Federer slapped a forehand into the net on Nadal’s fourth match point and second of the game.

Nadal fell onto his back in exhilaration at the baseline. With his shirt caked with turf, he congratulated Federer and climbed into the players’ box to embrace his entourage. He had tears in his eyes as he grabbed a Spanish flag and walked across the television commentators’ booth to the edge of the Royal Box to shake hands with Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain.

“It’s impossible to explain what I felt in that moment,” Nadal said after receiving the winner’s trophy from the Duke of Kent. “Just very, very happy to win this title. For me, (it) is a dream to play in this tournament. But to win, I never imagined something like this.”

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