A record eighth Wimbledon title, over Novak Djokovic for that matter, is only fitting for this version of Roger Federer.
This version of Federer has blown through the opposition at a tournament in London that has been anything but kind to the old guard of his generation, which is slowly giving way to a new era.
But Federer is far from done; even the naysayers have to admit it. That he can shatter the record books in his 25th Grand Slam final and his ninth at Wimbledon—a record, as ESPN Stats & Info notes—with a triumph over Djokovic only makes his legacy that much sweeter.
Roger Federer advances to 9th career Wimbledon final (most all-time). At 32, he's oldest GS finalist since Andre Agassi (2005 US Open).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 4, 2014
After his dissection of No. 8 Milos Raonic (6-4, 6-4, 6-4) in the semifinal, it was CNBC's John Harwood who summed up Federer's current form best:
reminder to all those trying to bum-rush Roger Federer into retirement - he's about to play another Wimbledon FINAL #greatness— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 4, 2014
Believe it or not, the outcome is as sure as the sunrise.
Federer is simply the better player at this juncture, having been broken just once in his six matches in London. They are, without a shred of doubt, dominant performances that suggest only a total meltdown can stop the Swiss sensation:
|1||Paolo Lorenzi||W, 6-1, 6-1. 6-3|
|2||Gilles Muller||W, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3|
|3||Santiago Giraldo||W, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3|
|4||No. 23 Tommy Robredo||W, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4|
|Quarterfinals||No. 5 Stan Wawrinka||W, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4|
|Semifinals||No. 8 Milos Raonic||W, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4|
Now contrast that with Djokovic, who has struggled his way through his last two encounters. In the quarterfinals match against No. 26 seed Marin Cilic (6-1, 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2), he hit a dry spell of significant proportions that forced the match into five sets.
In the semifinals, against No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov (6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6)—a much more credible opponent who had previously knocked off Andy Murray in impressive fashion—Djokovic hit what is becoming a rather in-character drought that cost him the second set.
Up one set and a point for 4-1, the tournament's No. 1 seed went more than 15 minutes without winning a game. He would go on to recover, but it's yet another noteworthy hiccup as of late.
"That's something that I definitely cannot allow myself in the final against Roger," said Djokovic of his collapse, per Clare Lovell of Reuters, via Yahoo News. "They have a similar game, so it was good to play a longer match and to understand the way I need to prepare for Roger."
If recent play is not enough, also understand the historical factors don't speak well to Djokovic's odds.
Who wins the final?
For one, he has been upended in five of his past six Grand Slam finals. His form under the spotlight has simply been lacking, and against a surging Federer, it's a scary trend.
Pair this with Federer's 18-16 head-to-head advantage, including his taking two of three this season, and there seems to be plenty going in his favor. Also, don't forget the archrivals have met just once on grass—two years ago in London, a four-set affair in the semifinals that saw Federer through en route to his seventh title.
Federer, brimming with energy after his latest triumph, broke down what he believes is the formula for overcoming Djokovic once again, their first dance in the final of a Grand Slam since 2007, as captured by Sam Sheringham of BBC Sport:
It's really important for me to stay aggressive against him, and especially here at Wimbledon. Novak can hurt you down the line or cross-court on both sides. His forehand, his serve, his movement clearly is what stands out the most at the moment. He's really been able to improve that and make it rock solid.
At 32 years old with an understanding of how to defeat his opponent and that these opportunities are indeed very finite, it is safe to expect nothing but Federer's best on Sunday on Centre Court, which should be inhabited by a mostly pro-Federer gathering.
Federer's best is more than enough to see him put new ink on the record books with yet another victory over his up-and-down rival.