Roger Federer will take the court Sunday at the All England Club in the Wimbledon final with history on his mind.
A victory would clinch him a record eighth championship at the prestigious event and a flat-out ridiculous 18 Grand Slam singles titles in 25 men's final appearances. All that stands in his way is arguably the best tennis player in the world and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic.
No pressure, right?
Since Federer won the 2012 Wimbledon title at 30, he has failed to even make a major final in seven tries. Many commentators believed that his Grand Slam-winning days were behind him, but he has been a force to be reckoned with this year. In fact, no other 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist could top his 40 match victories this season, and he's looked particularly healthy on the court.
His newfound ruthless efficiency was on full display in the semifinals, when it took just less than two hours to dispatch Milos Raonic in straight sets. It stretched his Wimbledon semifinals record to an astounding 9-0.
Federer has aggressively attacked the net frequently at the All England Club and won 24 of 32 points there against Raonic.
What’s more, he seems to understand the magnitude of the moment, via Greg Garber of ESPN.com: "I know I don't have 10 [Wimbledons] left. The first win here was a dream come true. And now the fact that I get another chance to go through these emotions is great."
Across from him will be Djokovic, who labored through a three-hour slugfest against Grigor Dimitrov in his semifinals matchup. It was emotionally and physically draining, and he has actually spent five more hours on the court than Federer at this tournament, per Matt Wilansky of ESPN.com.
Sure, Djokovic is the younger of the two, but fatigue will likely play a role Sunday.
There may even be some extra pressure on Djokovic, seeing as how he's lost in the final of five of the past six majors, including three in a row, and dropped the championship match at Wimbledon last year to Andy Murray.
SI Tennis pointed out that there at least won’t be much at stake in the rankings department for Djokovic:
Roger Federer will move to No. 3 in the rankings on Monday regardless of Sunday’s result. Novak Djokovic can retake No. 1 with a win.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) July 5, 2014
Djokovic may be the best player in the world, but Federer is a Wimbledon machine and incredible on grass in general, as indicated below.
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He has also played some of the best tennis in his career this year with a championship in Dubai (where he beat Djokovic in the semifinals), a semifinals appearance in the Australian Open, an appearance in the final at the ATP World Tour 1000 at Monte Carlo (he also defeated Djokovic in the semifinals) and an appearance in the final at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 at Indian Wells.
Federer also broke through for a title in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open, which was an effective warm-up tournament on grass for Wimbledon.
History will be made Sunday, and Djokovic will simply be collateral damage.
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