The consistently heart stopping 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 classic began at 2.35 pm and, thanks to a couple of breaks for rain it ended at 9.15 pm with the 22-year-old from Mallorca dropping to the ground with his arms outstretched in celebration. With the win, Nadal matched Bjorn Borg's fantastic feat of winning the Grand Slams at the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back and also prevented Federer from surpassing the five titles in a row Borg collected between 1976 and 1980.
Conditions for the latest duel between tennis's two finest players could not have been more demanding. The rain, which delayed the start for 27 minutes, eventually cleared but the chill, gusting wind which accompanied it persisted throughout the match, blowing winning shots off course and making life even more difficult for the two competitors. That they coped so well spoke volumes for their skill and adaptability.
The match is being proclaimed as the greatest Grand Slam finals of all time.
The Spaniard, who had squandered two match points in a nerve-shredding fourth set tie-break, added a first All England Club title to his four French Opens, shattering Federer's dreams of an historic sixth successive Wimbledon trophy.
'It's impossible to explain what I felt when I won. I'm just very happy to win this title. I never thought I could win but to do so is a dream'; said Nadal who had lost the last two finals to Federer.
It was late, very late, but not too late to crown a new champion.