You could call it a dream final, if you’re not a Rafa fan. Either way the match up of styles regarding these two great champions makes for dynamic tennis and epic rallies. Roger has won 8 Wimbledon’s, and Novak 4, so they both know what it takes to perform at peak levels on the hallowed centre court.
There are some worrying stats for Federer, in their last 4 Grand Slam matches Novak has won them all, they haven’t played in a Grand Slam since the 2016 Australian Open semi’s, won by Novak in 4 sets, and the last time Federer won a Slam match against Novak was the 2012 Wimbledon final won by Federer in 4 sets, that’s a long time ago.
As with any Grand Slam finals now involving Federer, Rafa or Novak there are historical implications on the line, Federer at 20, Rafa at 18 and Novak on 15, meaning these matches will resonate for years to come in ‘who’s the best ever’ discussions.
Why Djokovic will win
The best of 5 set formula suits Novak in this matchup. We can’t deny it that Federer at 37 years old can’t pour maximum energy into 5 straight sets, watch his semi against Rafa, he virtually took the second set off, conserving energy for the 3rdand 4thsets. Novak is very good at pacing himself the first few rounds, just doing enough to get through knowing he has the ability to turn it on against the best players, as I’ve said multiple times the grass is playing slow which helps Novak and his great defensive skills, especially the way he can hit open stance backhands under immense pressure, the conditions suit Novak and it would take a herculean effort from Federer to win.
Why Federer will win
I hate that word ‘destiny’, its almost cosmic, like it was written in the stars, but its funny how it all seems set up for Federer to win, the Swiss has gone 4 Slams without making a final; you wonder how many more chances he’ll have and when he’ll lose that half a step. Of course he has the game to win, as with the Rafa match he must win the first or second set, it was surprising that he won a good majority of long rallies against Rafa but I think that was more based on Rafa’s level had dropped. If Roger serves well and gets the sets to 5-5 or tiebreaks he can win.
What will be interesting is how will Novak play. Most matches these two weeks he has been at 75% of his ability, content to work the rally and not go for too much, knowing his defensive skills will get him through. I wonder if he’ll just try to outlast Roger and go with the strategy of “the longer I’m out here and make Roger work he’ll fall off a cliff at some point”.
He could employ that or raise his level and go for more backhands up the line, the first 20 minutes will say a lot but watch Novak and if he’s hitting backhand to backhand I’d say he’s trying to outlast Federer.
The crowd could be a factor as they’ll be 70-30 for Federer but Novak loves playing the villain and he’ll use it to drive him, as much as I’d like Federer to win I think recent history between these two in Grand Slams suggest he just can’t get through Novak in a best of 5 format. I’m picking Novak in 4 sets to win his 16thGrand Slam.