Sweet 16 for Djokovic or will Federer extend Major title gap?

Sunday July 14 2019

Djokovic (L) takes on Federe

Djokovic (L) takes on Federer for the right to be Wimbeldon 2019 champion. AFP PHOTOS 


LONDON- When Djokovic and Federer were asked about playing each other on Sunday, there was a clear theme to their answers: We’ve been here before.

“I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect,” Djokovic said.
“I think the moment you’ve played somebody probably more than 15 times, especially in recent years also a few times, there’s not much more left out there,” Federer said.

Indeed, Djokovic and Federer have faced off 47 times since 2006, twice in the Wimbledon final, and twice since Djokovic began his comeback in 2018.

Looking at the results of those matches, and assuming there are no new wrinkles to their rivalry, Djokovic has to be the favorite in this one. He leads Federer 25-22 overall; he’s won their last four meetings dating back to 2015; he won their Wimbledon finals in 2014 and 2015; and he has won their last four matches at Grand Slams. The last time Federer beat Djokovic at a major was at Wimbledon in 2012.

Djokovic is younger, he’s won three of the last four Slams, and he presents matchup problems for everyone, including Federer. Djokovic can parry Federer’s serve, which is his core weapon on grass, with his best-on-tour return. He’s steadier from the baseline. And unlike the vast majority of Federer’s opponents, Djokovic believes he should beat him. While he hasn’t been spectacular in his first six matches, that’s kind of the point with Djokovic. He doesn’t need to be.

Of course, none of this means we should hand the trophy to Djokovic quite yet. Their Wimbledon finals from earlier in the decade were decided by razor-thin margins.