Fed­erer goes for record eighth ti­tle

CityPress - - Sport - Su­perS­port.com –

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].”


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