There is always much at stake in a Grand Slam final, but there could hardly be much more on the line when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic meet here tomorrow. For Federer, it is a chance to become the only man in history to win eight Wimbledon titles and to extend his all-time record of 17 Grand Slam trophies. For Djokovic it will be an opportunity to improve his recent poor record in Grand Slam finals and to reclaim the world No 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.
Federer, who suffered one of his worst defeats when he lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round here 12 months ago, said last night: “My game’s back where I hoped it would be from one year ago. Things were difficult for most of last year, so I’m happy I worked hard off the court to get myself back into shape and back into contention for tournaments.
“This year’s been very solid. I’ve reached a lot of semis and finals. I’ve also won two titles already. So I think that really gave me the confidence to believe that I could go a step further.”
Federer has won 18 of his 34 meetings with Djokovic. They have not met in a Grand Slam final since Djokovic’s first, at the 2007 US Open, which Federer won. Their only meeting on grass, which Federer also won, was in the semi-finals here two years ago.
“It’s a good chance for me to try to win against him on his favourite surface, on his favourite court,” Djokovic said. “This is where he has had the most success in his career, winning many titles. He’s been looking very good throughout the whole tournament.
“We know each other’s games. We’ve played many matches on different occasions – only once on a grass court, but we played so many times in semi-finals and finals of Grand Slams, on different surfaces in big matches over the years. They were very exciting. And, of course, most of the matches we play against each other went the distance. I’m going to be physically ready and fit to go the distance this time.”
While Djokovic has six Grand Slam titles to his name already, one of the main reasons why he brought Boris Becker into his coaching team at the end of last year was to improve his record at the sharp end of the biggest events. The Serb is well aware that he has lost five of his last six Grand Slam finals.
“Of course I try to learn from those,” Djokovic said. “I have the team of people around me that are experts in their own fields. They all try to help me out and analyse my game, as well as my mental approach and state in which I am. We will try to understand what I did wrong in the French Open final from a mental perspective, and to make it better in two days’ time.”Reuse content