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It was probably the final you would have expected the moment you saw the draw, but that doesn’t make this year’s Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer any less exciting.
We are talking abut two of the three greatest male players of all time battling it out on Centre Court, the greatest stage that tennis has to offer.
World ranking: 1
Career high ranking: 1 (Multiple)
Career singles titles: 74
Grand Slam titles: 15
World ranking: 3
Career high ranking: 1 (Multiple)
Career singles titles: 102
Grand Slam titles: 20
Federer’s form during the last two weeks has been solid rather than spectacular, you’d have to say. That said, that’s probably the key to successful Grand Slams, and no man knows more about that than the Swiss master.
He has lost three sets en-route to the final, and since one of those was against Rafael Nadal we should probably let him off that one. He has generous odds of 7.70 with bet-at-home to ease to a 3-0 victory.
His wider form has been pretty good really. Federer came to Wimbledon on the back of winning the Halle Open for the tenth time, and before that he was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros.
One thing it is worth noting, though, is that this will actually be his first Grand Slam final for an astonishing 18 months.
World number one Djokovic has dropped just two sets so far during Wimbledon, and at times he has been effortlessly ruthless.
He has certainly had the easier run to the final though. While Federer has had to go through eighth-seed Kai Nishikori and third seed Rafael Nadal, the draw opened up quite early for Djokovic.
Indeed, world numbers 22 and 23 Roberto Bautista Agut and David Goffin has been as tough as it’s got for Djokovic, which is remarkably kind for a Grand Slam.
Djokovic has won three of the last four Slams and, like Federer, was a beaten semi-finalist at the French Open last month.
It’s pretty even on the head-to-head, as you’d probably expect from two such great players.
Djokovic slightly shades it, having won 25 of their previous 47 meetings.
The Serb has also won their five of their last six clashes.
This will be their 19th final against each other, which should surprise no one. What may be unexpected is that Federer has managed to win just six of those.
It will also be their third Wimbledon final, and Djokovic again dominates having won them both (2014, 2015), which maybe contributes to his odds of 1.50 to win according to bet-at-home.
Federer does have a Wimbledon win over Djokovic to his name, though, having bested him in the 2012 semi-final.
Novak Djokovic: “Federer, you know, we all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here.
“This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent.
“He just rushes you to everything. So for players maybe like Nadal or myself that like to have a little more time, it’s a constant pressure that you have to deal with.
“I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect.
“Of course, I’m going to be excited and nervous and everything that you can think of. I’m going to do my best to control that in some way and be able to portray my best tennis in balanced, hopefully, state throughout the match.”
Roger Federer: “He (Djokovic) played good against [Roberto] Bautista Agut, who I thought played a phenomenal tournament.
“Novak was supreme again. He’s the defending champion and he showed why this week.
“He’s been rock solid from start to finish so I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him, but it’s going to be very difficult as he is not No 1 by chance.”
Normally, since we are talking about grass-court tennis here, you’d simply declare Federer the favourite and be done with it. It’s not as simple as that here, though – and bet-at-home agree.
Fact of the matter is that Djokovic has played two finals against Federer at Wimbledon – in his home – and come out on top both times. His head-to-head is better and he has more success in finals when these two have met.
Additionally, Djokovic has had a slightly more simple run to the final so will likely be fresher, and you have to wonder how much the battle with Rafael Nadal took out of Federer’s 37-year-old legs.
That said, how can you possibly bet against Roger Federer at Wimbledon? We know Djokovic can beat him here, but that’s a long way from saying that he will.
It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fierce, and it’s going to be frantic – but you have to back Federer at Wimbledon. His record demands it.
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