Boy! What a match this should be. The Fed, the man who has won seven Wimbledon titles, who owned Centre Court and is refusing to leave the stage, against the Brit on his home turf.
They are both in great shape physically and have cruised through the tournament, they will both have plenty of support and their head-to-head record is almost even.
It’s a tough one to call and I won’t. I have too much respect for both players, but I can pick out the factors that will decide the winner. The main one is Andy Murray’s serve. He just has to get that firing, because Roger Federer will pounce on any weak second serves.
Federer’s own serve isn’t that quick, but it is beautiful. People say to me “Nick, I want more power”. They are obsessed with how fast they can hit a serve, but Federer is proof that a good serve is about more than brute force. He hits them at 118-122mph, maybe 124mph, but his placement and disguise are key.
He serves as if he is playing darts. He pinpoints it exactly where he wants it, and that accuracy is magnified by being impossible to read. The toss is in the same place all the time.
Many players, when they hit a second kick-serve, they throw the ball to the left and the receiver knows it will be a kick-serve. Not Federer. When he does hit his second serve he pulls it back a bit rather than throws to the left and the receiver is left to guess, or wait – and if he waits he’s usually too late.
When he had that dip a lot of people were quick to say it was all over for Roger. No way. I never thought you could write him off, especially after Stefan Edberg joined his team and made some adjustments. They were not major ones, but they were significant – a bigger racket, which helps with his serve accuracy, standing close to the baseline, being more attacking and hitting those big forehands.
Edberg is a laid-back dude whose style of play in his heyday suited what Federer had to do: stand a little closer on return, improve the serve and come to the net. It is how Edberg played.
By now you’ll be thinking, “Poor Andy, he has no chance”. Well, he has. To start with Murray is much stronger physically, and if the rallies go on and on from the baseline Murray will be licking his chops. He is in great form himself and very confident.
It is the first match since Federer beat Murray 6-0, 6-1 at the O2. Will that matter? Hell no, all that is hogwash. This is the Wimbledon semi-final, not an indoor tournament in winter, and it is all about who shows up on the day.
Gasquet must persuade his body that he’s feeling fresh
I was impressed with Richard Gasquet on Wednesday. A lot of players would have crumbled after failing to take the opportunities he had in the fifth set, but he is a clever, competitive player and won the game with a change of strategy.
In those last two games he threw air balls, high balls, short slices and caught Stan Wawrinka flat-footed. He moved Wawrinka back with a brilliant change of tempo and rhythm through floaters and short under-slices.
But Novak Djokovic will move him around, he’ll never let him stand still. Those long rallies, with Djokovic hitting a heavy ball, will be tough for Gasquet because Wednesday will have taken a lot out of him.
He now has to bulls*** his body and say, “Hey, I had an easy match and I am ready to play, bring it on”.
Coaching report: Muguruza will make the final a slugfest
Garbine Muguruza is a big hitter. There is not much finesse but a lot of power, and it was too much for Agnieszka Radwanska in their semi-final. Muguruza has a big shoulder turn on that back-hand and hits the hell out of it. She also moves extremely well. Radwanska changed things and gave herself a chance with that run of six games, but once Muguruza cut out the errors she was too good.
Her power makes the final interesting. It’ll be a real slugfest. Serena Williams had too much firepower for Maria Sharapova but she won’t get many balls pushed at her on Saturday. Muguruza will be thumping the ball straight back at her and her movement means she’ll get a lot of Serena’s balls. But Serena has a big serve, she’s a competitor and she’s been here many times before.
Nick Bollettieri appears in ‘The Independent’ courtesy of the renowned IMG Academy in Florida, which he founded 34 years ago.
Go to www.nickbollettieri.com to access the lessons, tips and expertise garnered in his 55-year coaching career.
Go to independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon for videos filmed by Bollettieri exclusively for ‘The Independent’.Reuse content