Novak Djokovic takes on Roger Federer Sunday in the Wimbledon finals (9 a.m. Eastern time, ESPN). They also have 12 combined championships at the All England Club, as Federer is seeking his ninth.
Through 47 meetings, Djokovic holds a 25-22 edge in record. This includes a 3-1 record in Grand Slam finals. Two of those meetings in finals were Djokovic victories at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015. The first one was a five-set marathon, while the other ended in four sets.
Federer’s only victory in those matchups came 12 years ago at the 2007 U.S. Open. While the Swiss won in straight sets, it was a highly-competitive bout at 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
The familiarity the two share is a positive, says Federer.
“We’ve played each other so, so much,” he said to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t mind that. I think it’s more of a clear game plan.”
However, Federer just had to face another rival in Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. The match drew a lot of energy from the 37-year-old, meaning its more time for recovery and game film than training.
“I don’t have much energy to train very much right now,” he said. “Honestly, it’s about recovery, hitting some balls [Saturday], warming up the next day. I don’t think there’s much I need to do in terms of practice. This is like a school; the day of the test, you’re not going to read, I don’t know, how many books that day. You don’t have the time.”
Federer Has Won 20 Grand Slams, While Djokovic Has 15 Major Titles
Djokovic may hold the head-to-head advantage, but Federer has a little bit more Grand Slam hardware. Federer has won 20 Grand Slams, while Nadal trails slightly with 15 major titles.
Djokovic does hold the advantage in head-to-head Grand Slam matchups with a 9-6 record. Djokovic admitted that he is expecting a battle after their 2014 and 2015 meetings at the All England Club.
“I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect,” he told the BBC.
“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.”
Another factor for Djokovic is that the crowd at Wimbledon has tended to favor Federer. During their five-set war in 2014, “shamelessly partisan” cheers broke out for the Swiss tennis ace by some celebrity fans, per The Guardian.
The crowd, including David and Victoria Beckham, shamelessly partisan, drunk on theatre, erupted into chants of “Roger, Roger!”. Every Federer point was met with a wave of cheers. No animosity was towards Djokovic; instead a shared and vocal desperation to see Federer keep his mission on track; a collective wish to be part of history.
Djokovic Enters the 2019 Wimbledon Matchup as the Favorite
Federer is a +165 underdog heading into the match, per Action Network. Djokovic is favored to get his fifth Wimbledon title with -185 odds.
The over under is set at 41.5 games, which would average out to four sets of 6-4 tennis.