For a while at Wimbledon, there was a concern that we might not see any of the game's top stars reach the final on either side of the draw. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova were upset. So too were Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
Would this year's tournament be the year of the upstart?
Not so fast, friends. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic decided to crash the underdog party, advancing to the men's final in a matchup that will have the entire tennis world waiting in anticipation. Below, you'll find all the information you need for the title match, along with a preview of why either man could win.
|Sunday, July 6||9 a.m.||Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer||ESPN|
The final can also be streamed on WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.
Why Roger Federer Will Win
Statistically speaking, Federer is 18-16 all time against Djokovic, won the last time the two met at a Grand Slam (the 2012 semifinals at Wimbledon) and is 2-1 against Djokovic this season. He's also dropped just one set and been broken just once at Wimbledon thus far in 2014, so he comes into this match red hot.
Oh, and there's the small matter of his seven titles at this tournament. With one more victory, he'll hold the career record at Wimbledon.
Yeah, he's pretty good on the famous grass court.
But more importantly might be the fact that this could very well be Federer's best chance to earn one more Grand Slam title. He hasn't been taxed in this tournament, so he should be relatively fresh. Everything has gone right for him thus far.
Sometimes, having fortune and form on your side at the same time is all you need.
Why Novak Djokovic Will Win
Because he's so darn hard to beat. That might sound pretty obvious—he's the No. 2 player in the world, after all—but it's more about the fact that he never gives in, he never makes anything easy for his opponent and he's never quite out of a match.
He beat Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals, yes, but he didn't exactly do it in style. No matter—it worked for Djokovic, as Jon Wertheim of SI.com wrote:
This was about will, not skill, and Djokovic fought—as he often does—and essentially stole a match.
All players can win when they’re dialing in their shots and zoning. It’s the real champion who figures out ways to get out of the labyrinth, that extricate himself from danger. Down 6-3 in the fourth-set tiebreak, Djokovic declined to miss, made two well-considered dashes to the net and took advantage of two bad points by Dimitrov. He swiped the tiebreak, and thus the win on a day of suboptimal tennis. Survive and advance, as a wise man once put it.
The truth is, on his best day Djokovic is better than Federer at his best. A couple of years ago that wouldn't be true, but it is now. In a long, drawn-out battle, Djokovic is more likely to have his legs than Federer. Where Federer's precision and smarts were too much for the power-reliant Milos Raonic to overcome, they won't surprise or intimidate Djokovic.
And the truth is, Djokovic may be more desperate for this title than Federer. Rafael Nadal has won three titles since Djokovic last won at the 2013 Australian Open, so if Djokovic is to keep his name in the running as the top player in the game, a Grand Slam win this year is vital.
If Djokovic plays a tighter, more consistent match in the final than we saw against Dimitrov, he should win. But you can bet Federer is going to make this a classic.