Djokovic vs. Murray: Hometown Favorite Will Win First Wimbledon Title on Sunday
Technically speaking, Andy Murray is the last man to win a men's singles title at the All England Club.
That victory came during the 2012 London Olympics, as the Englishman defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to capture gold with the weight of his nation behind him.
He avenged a finals loss to Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final, a victory that was really the catalyst for what's been the greatest year of tennis in Murray's life.
With Sunday's appearance at Wimbledon, Murray will have been to the finals at the last four Grand Slams he's competed in.
Murray will make it two straight finals wins at the All England Club by the time the 2013 Wimbledon tournament is in the books.
Federer is the reigning champion at Wimbledon, but Murray will have to best ATP World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to win his first-ever Grand Slam title in his homeland.
Both men made it to the final in impressive fashion; Murray took down Jerzy Janowicz in four sets, and Djokovic handled Juan Martin del Potro in five sets.
As you can see by this tweet from Wimbledon's official account, it all comes down to this:
The 26-year-old and ATP World No. 2 will once again have the full support of his hometown crowd. Great Britain hasn't had a Wimbledon champion in 77 years, possibly a reason why The Guardian had this tweet concerning potential TV ratings for Sunday:
After Sunday afternoon, the drought will be over.
It's been an odd tournament at Wimbledon this year. Federer, Rafael Nadal and other favorites bowed out early either through poor play or injury, and Djokovic and Murray emerged as the unquestioned favorites to breeze through each side of their draw and face each other in the final.
Who wins the 2013 Wimbledon final?
It hasn't been an easy task for either of the top two seeds in the men's draw. Murray has been taken to four sets in each of his last three matches, with his quarterfinal, five-set scare against Fernando Verdasco being one of the most heated matches of the tournament so far.
Djokovic managed to avoid a fourth set until the semifinals, when del Potro took him to five sets. The Argentinian challenger imposed his will throughout the match but didn't have enough stamina to last in a match of that nature.
In addition to having the home crowd on his side, Murray will have the extra rest he took home by dispatching Janowicz quickly and avoiding the French Open earlier this year. By missing the Grand Slam at Roland Garros, Murray was able to add extra focus to his performance on grass.
It looks like a great decision so far.
When it comes to Sunday's matchup, Djokovic and Murray are no strangers to staring each other down on opposite sides of the court. As noted by Live Tennis on Twitter, some of their matches have been legendary:
The duo last squared off at the Australian Open final, where Djokovic bested the Scot in four sets to win the first Grand Slam of the 2013 season. In doing so, Djokovic ran his head-to-head record against Murray to 11-7.
The lone meeting on grass, though, did go in Murray's favor.
The pair met in the semifinals at the Olympics, and Murray won in electrifying 7-5, 7-5 fashion. He also beat Djokovic in the 2012 U.S. Open final, but Djokovic has won the last three matches since.
Like the 77-year English drought at Wimbledon, expect that streak to end on Sunday.
Murray is playing the best tennis of his life right now. Djokovic is no easy draw for anyone—he's the No. 1 player in the world for a reason. That being said, Murray will have the emotional kick from the crowd and a blueprint from Djokovic's match against del Potro in the semifinal to use to his advantage.
All signs point to a five-set thriller in London on Sunday. Both of these former Grand Slam champions are worthy of taking home the crown, and I have a feeling this particular player matchup will be one we see two or three times a year in Grand Slam finals for years to come.
But it's Murray who has rest, the help of the crowd and a hot streak of play that has extended all the way to the All England Club. With a chance to win two of the last four Grand Slam titles now firmly in his grasp, Murray will step up to the plate and give English supporters something to cheer about on Sunday.
His shot at glory depends on it.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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