Federer goes for record eighth title
Roger Federer can win a record eighth Wimbledon title and become the oldest champion of the modern era if he can find a way past world number one Novak Djokovic today.
The 33-year-old Swiss has defied those who dared to write him off when he lost last year’s final to the Serb in five gruelling sets.
Federer’s breathtaking demolition of Andy Murray in Friday’s semifinal 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 Pete Sampras, and which he levelled with his most recent slam, the 2012 Wimbledon crown.
Ahead of their 40th career meeting, Federer and defending champion Djokovic are equally matched.
Federer has a 20-19 career edge in their headto-heads, but they are locked at 6-6 in the grand slams. In finals at the majors, they are 1-1, with Djokovic’s Wimbledon triumph 12 months ago following Federer’s straight-sets 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 in the past few years, he’s been unbelievably dominant, especially on the hard courts. Then he improved on the grass. On the 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 this year – Djokovic won the finals at Indian Wells and in Rome after Federer came out on top in the Dubai final.
That loss in the United Arab Emirates was one of only three for Djokovic all year, with the third coming at the worst possible time at the hands of an inspired Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open, the only slam to still elude Djokovic.
Djokovic, chasing his ninth grand slam title in his 17th final, boasts impressive numbers this year.
He is 47-3 up, collecting a fifth Australian Open as well as masters titles at Indian Wells and in Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome.
He also has an admirable record of consistency at the highest level, having made at least the semifinals 19 times at the past 20 grand slams.
Victory for the 28-year-old would have an interesting symmetry – it was 30 years ago that his 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 Djokovic, who would match Becker’s record of three trophies if 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 happiness and love.
“I’m trying to stay on that wave as much as I can and, hopefully, I can do well on Sunday [today].”