Football

Maybe, his greatest trick of all

Federer's been a magician, but Djokovic will be his biggest test

In the last five years, Roger Federer has won only one Grand Slam title - when he beat Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final three summers ago.

But the 33-year-old Swiss may be on the brink of perhaps the most extraordinary victory of his life, as he goes for a record eighth Wimbledon title and become the oldest champion of the modern era today, if he can find a way past world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Federer has defied those who dared to write him off when he lost last year's final to the Serb in five gruelling sets.

His breathtaking demolition of Murray in Friday's semi-finals was a throwback to his years of Grand Slam dominance when he captured 16 of his 17 Majors in a seven-year spell between 2003 and 2010.

Now he has reached a 10th Wimbledon final, the oldest man to do so since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974 and his 26th Grand Slam final overall.

A win today would break the tie of seven Wimbledon titles he shares with the great Pete Sampras and which he levelled with his most recent Slam, the 2012 All England Club crown.

Ahead of their 40th career meeting, Federer and defending champion Djokovic are equally-matched. Federer has a 20-19 career edge in their head-to-heads, but they are locked at 6-6 in the Grand Slams.

NOVAK'S MATCH TOUGH

In finals at the Majors they are 1-1 with Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph of 12 months ago following Federer's straight-set victory in the 2007 US Open.

"It's great to play Novak anywhere these days because he's a great player. He's had unbelievable success throughout his career," said Federer.

"But especially now the last few years, he's been unbelievably dominant, especially on the hard courts, then he improved on the grass. On clay, he's one of the best, if not the best.

"He's become very match tough. He always shows up. It's tough to beat him. He's been good for the game."

The pair have already met three times in 2015 - Djokovic winning the finals at Indian Wells and Rome after Federer had come out on top in the Dubai final.

Federer allowed Murray just one break-point in his semi-final win, which was also his 79th match victory at Wimbledon and he is closing in on Jimmy Connors' record of 84.

But now he has to figure out Djokovic, who has yet to hit top gear at Wimbledon despite having made his fourth final.

"It’s the most important match any tennis player can have. I’m going to prepare for whatever is awaiting me on the court. It’s not the first time I’ll have had this feeling and I’ll try to use this experience in the past to help me this time. "- Novak Djokovic (above)

Djokovic is chasing his ninth Grand Slam title in his 17th final. Victory for the 28-year-old would have an interesting symmetry - it was 30 years ago that coach Boris Becker won his first Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old.

"Boris goes through the emotions with me like when he was playing," said 2011 and 2014 champion Djokovic who can match Becker's record of three trophies should he beat Federer.

"There are times when he doesn't sleep well before the big match."

Djokovic said last year's win over Federer also helped put his career back on track after he had gone five Majors without adding to his tally, which stood at six at the time.

"To win that match in five sets against Roger on grass was definitely something that gave me a lot of confidence," he said.

"Then a few days after that, I got married. I then became a father as well, entered a new dimension of joy and love. I'm trying to stay on that wave as much as I can and, hopefully, I can do well."

- AFP.

 

WimbledonRoger Federernovak djokovic