In a match up that would be more than befitting of the final itself, two heavyweights of the game, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic face off in the Wimbledon Semi Final on Friday. If these two played in an exhibition match it would be a highly anticipated clash, but with so much riding on this Wimbledon semi final, its all set up to be an absolute classic.
What’s at stake?
If Federer wins, he’ll be the favourite in the final and have the chance to:
- Tie Pete Sampras’s record of 7 Wimbledon titles.
- Add to his already record 16 Slam titles.
- If he then goes on to win the title, he’ll regain the much cherished No1 ranking.
If Djokovic wins he’ll also be front runner in the final and could then:
- Win back to back Wimbledon titles and join the elite list of men that have achieved that feat (Laver, Newcombe, McEnroe, Becker, Borg, Sampras, and Federer).
- Add to his fast accumulating 5 Slam titles.
- Maintain his position at the pinnacle of the world rankings.
Federer himself has commented that regaining the world number 1 ranking would mean just as much to him as adding to his slam titles, and a win on Friday will bring both dreams within touching distance. At the start of Wimbledon this is how the rankings stood:
1. Djokovic (SRB) 12,280
2. Nadal (ESP) 10,060
3. Federer (SUI) 9,435
Being last years Champion, Djokovic is defending 2,000 points, while Federer is only defending 360 points (that he has already defended as he lost in the quarters last year to Tsonga).
If Federer beats Djokovic, Novak would only take 720 points from this Wimbledon and have his total tally fall to 11,000. If Federer then goes on to win the title on Sunday, his points for the tournament would go up by 1640 from what they are now, making his total 11,075. Therefore, in doing so he would win the title and also regain the world’s No1 ranking for the first time in more than two years.
Is it personal?
Back in 2006 Federer had a huge problem with Djokovic, branding him a “joke” after the Serb repeatedly called the trainer during a Davis cup match, but asked about their relationship at the current time, Federer insists there are no issues:
“Things are cool since a long time between me and him. I’ve always respected him. Have I gone out for dinner with him? No. But we have had many meetings at the players council, and then now with the Grand Slams. He’s been nice to work with. We’ve met on several occasions because of other things together. I have no issues with him, and I hope you believe me.”
Asked about Federer yesterday, Djokovic said:
“He’s rated probably as the best player in history. He has won everything that a tennis player can win and he’s coming back for more. He has a lot of respect from me, from all the players. There is no question about it. But we are all rivals, we are all opponents. I don’t think about his history or his success or whatever too much when I’m on the court. I just want to win that match.”
What will happen?
What makes this match even more intriguing is that these two giants of the game have never actually played each other on grass. So how is the match likely to pan out…
Djokovic has won the last three matches against Federer, the last two being in straight sets (semi-finals of Rome 2012, semi-finals of the French Open 2012)
Those wins followed a depressive semi-final loss for the Swiss master at the 2011 US Open where Novak prevailed after saving 2 match points. If we look at all the Grand Slam semi-finals between these two, Djokovic leads 5-3 including 4 of the last 5 matches:
2008 Australian Open Djokovic 7-5 6-3 7-6 (7-5)
2008 US Open Federer 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-2
2009 US Open Federer 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5
2010 US Open Djokovic 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5
2011 Australian Open Djokovic 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-4
2011 French Open Federer 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5)
2011 US Open Djokovic 6-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5
2012 French Open Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-3
On this basis, and current form you’d have to say that Djokovic is the most likely winner, but then again this is Federer and Wimbledon so you never know.
The possible outcomes…