Years 2006-2008 in men’s tennis are characterized as a period of the biggest domination of two players in the entire Open era. Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg had created for many years the only pair of players to compete three consecutive finals in a major; Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played three consecutive major finals at two different venues (Roland GarrosWimbledon) There was a symmetry involved in that rivalry at the highest level: Nadal won twice in Paris, Federer avenged those defeats in London. The pattern was broken in 2008 though, Nadal devastated Federer in Paris, and it was such a boost of confidence for the Spaniard that he was able to snap Federer’s 65-match winning streak on grass four weeks later in the Wimbledon epic final.
Two Germanic, tall blond-haired serve-and-volley specialists, Swede Stefan Edberg and nearly two years younger German Boris Becker, dominated Wimbledon in the late 80s and early 90s playing against each otherthree finals in a row – something like this had not happened at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 1894 when two local players, Joshua Pim and Wilfred Baddeley met in four consecutive finals. Edberg and Becker almost repeated the feat of the British gentlemen in 1991 – Becker advanced to the final again. Edberg was unexpectedly beaten by Michael Stich in the semifinal! Because it’s supposed to be the first Grand Slam match in history that a loser held all his service games! It’s interesting that Becker overwhelmed Edberg in their pro rivalry 25-10, which is one of the most lopsided Head to Heads of the Open era, but the Swede prevailed in 3 out of their 4 Grand Slam meetings, including two Wimbledon finals!
Three consecutive finals between the same players within one GS event (Open era)*
Wimbledon: 1988: Edberg d. Becker 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 1989: Becker d. Edberg 6-0, 7-6, 6-4 1990: Edberg d. Becker 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4
Roland Garros: 2006: Nadal d. Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 2007: Nadal d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 2008: Nadal d. Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
Wimbledon: 2006: Federer d. Nadal 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 2007: Federer d. Nadal 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 2008: Nadal d. Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7
* In the pre-Open era only two pairs of players met in three consecutive finals, in fact it was extended to four consecutive editions (Joshua Pim vs. Wilfred Baddeley at Wimbledon 1891-94 and Bill Tilden vs. Bill Johnston at US Open 1922-25)