So much for the demise of men's tennis' Big Four. On Sunday, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will once again play in a Grand Slam final, taking to the legendary Centre Court with their eyes set on the 2014 Wimbledon Championship.
For Federer, this will no doubt be the biggest match of the season. The Swiss star and seven-time winner at Wimbledon has his eyes set on a record-breaking eight championship, and that's been the case since the start of 2014.
Djokovic is looking to pass Rafael Nadal on the ATP's World Ranking and hasn't won a Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open, and he'll want to show the British crowd last year's embarrassing defeat to Andy Murray was a fluke.
Federer and Djokovic have taken very different paths to the final at the All England Club, but on Sunday, none of that will matter. Here are the keys to victory for both players heading into the Wimbledon final.
Federer: Continue Listening to Stefan Edberg, Stay Aggressive
When word got out Federer had hired former grass specialist Edberg to be his coach for the season, it instantly became clear what the Swiss star was trying to do—bet the farm on another Wimbledon title.
Federer's career has been one for the ages, but his decline has been noticeable in the past two years. That's nothing to be ashamed of—old age will do that to you. In Edberg, Federer found a coach willing to change his playing style to help him shine one last time on the English lawns he has grown to love so much.
Via ESPN, The Times' Neil Harman reported Edberg's old mentor Tony Pickard thinks his former pupil deserves a world of credit for Federer's performances in the past weeks:
Before he didn't do it at all and in six months, the two of them have a rapport and they obviously trust each other.
Having spent time sitting with Stefan, he believes the guy will do it. He and I had a relationship from day one and together I saw him win slams, become No.1 in the world.
Stefan takes on a job with a guy who has been No.1 in the world who has won slams, so you can't walk in and say, 'Hey, wait a minute, the way you play isn't good.' You've got to go softly, softly and feed into what he does.
Edberg hasn't changed the way Federer plays, but he has made tweaks. Federer is playing serve-and-volley more than he did in the past, his return looks great and the emphasis on attacking tennis has seen him breeze through the tournament so far.
The 32-year-old doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do, but in this case, he'd be wise to continue following his coach's instructions to the letter. Djokovic can get very emotional during matches, and he has struggled with his concentration during the tournament so far.
If Federer remains aggressive and continues to attack the Serb, he'll be able to damage his confidence early. Federer's been great so far during the tournament, doing exactly that—there's no need to change things now.
Djokovic: Keep Serving Well, Don't Get Emotional Early
FedEx has been serving great—his return has arguably been even better. Nobody reads the grass surface better than he does, and he's willing to push through on his return, taking huge risks.
He knows he can afford it—his serve is clicking, and he doesn't have to fear anyone breaking it with any consistency.
Djokovic is arguably the world's most physically dominant tennis player, but the mental aspect of the game can trouble him. He can get frustrated or distracted at the most inopportune times, and those frustrations usually don't fuel him to better performances.
ESPN.com's Howard Bryant remembered the quarter-finals two years ago, for instance:
Via USA Today's Douglas Robson, coach Boris Becker thinks Djokovic needs his emotions to play:
I'm the first one to understand that with an emotional guy like Novak it's not easy to always keep your emotions perfectly in check. Yet, he lives by his emotions. He needs to be emotional to play well. It's very tough to get the fine line of what's enough and what is not enough.
That final part of Becker's message is key: Stepping over the line and becoming too emotional is asking for trouble.
Djokovic will be reminded of last year's final against Murray. It will happen and chances are it will happen early. Djokovic needs to focus on the here and the now—once he enters Centre Court, there are no demons to overcome. There's just Federer, and the chance for a second Wimbledon trophy.
If the Serb can get his serve going early, he won't have to rely on errors from Federer to stay in the match or come away with a break or two. But if he allows his Swiss opponent to get him on the back foot early, this match could be over before it even starts.
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