The 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-2 victory he achieved followed a feast of tennis fit for any king. At three hours and 45 minutes, it was the third longest men's single final in Wimbledon's history and the most thrilling climax to the Championships since Goran Ivanisevic's dramatic victory in front of a raucous third Monday Centre Court crowd in 2001.
Federer was at his very best, and he certainly needed to be to hold at bay the tigerish challenge of the Spanish 21-year-old. Last year Nadal lost here in four sets, this time he took the master of grass court tennis the full distance.
In a breathtaking fifth set Nadal, who had undergone treatment to his right knee towards the end of the previous set, twice held two break points. But twice Federer rose magnificently to the challenge, fighting off the danger before he broke Nadal for what proved to be a crucial 4-2 lead.