— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) July 11, 2015
#1 and Defending Champion Novak Djokovic vs. #2 and 7-Time Champion Roger Federer
Does this match need any hype? I could keep playing word games and talk about each man’s outstanding historical accomplishments and excellent 2015 form. I could go on about each player’s coach being a great champion at Wimbledon. This match sells itself. We have the two best players in the draw in a rematch of a five set collision last year. Given that the hype is taken care of, I will get down to the match-up.
Federer’s Comfort Zone
While Roger Federer is a year older than he was in 2014 heading into the Wimbledon final, Roger has to be more confortable with his new racquet. He also has been working with Edberg longer and his forward-movement into the court is more of a routine. Roger has won 4 titles in 2015 and is in his 7th tournament final. He added an ellusive Davis Cup to his career numbers in 2014. I think Roger is playing tennis because he loves it and loves to compete, but the pressure of chasing Pete Sampras or a Roland Garros title are quite far behind him. A confortable Federer may do what he did against Murray and just churn out a great performance.
Novak’s Slam Successes
Novak Djokovic has won 4 Grand Slam titles since January 1, 2012. He has probably played well enough to have another 2 or 3 in his trophy case. Novak entered last year’s Wimbledon final having lost 4 of his previous 5 Grand Slam finals. In the 4th set, Novak wobbled after taking a 2 break lead and failed to serve out the championship twice and failed to even force the 4th set to a tiebreak. Novak steadied himself and took the 5th set. Since then he won the 2015 Australian Open and lost in the 2015 Roland Garros final. I think Nole’s difficulties in slam finals are behind him. That should put him on better footing than last year. In that match, Novak probably should have won all 5 sets that were contested. Can #9 be far behind?
Andy Murray and Andy Roddick gushed with praise over Roger’s serving performance in his semifinal win versus Murray. Novak Djokovic is the greatest returner of his generation and perhaps ever. That makes me think Roger’s ability to return Novak’s serve which was a problem in 2014 is a key. I also think Novak’s ability to play airtight service games is a key. If Roger serves well and Novak does not or if Novak returns well and Roger does not, we will see a fairly one-sided final. Each man must minimize the strength of the other by being a relative peer in that area of strength.
Novak won last year’s Wimbldon final and won their two most recent meetings. Novak beating Federer in the finals of Indian Wells and Rome is no small thing. Those are big events and championship matches so they could shed light on Federer’s plight vs. Nole. Then again, Federer beat Novak on a faster hard court this year in Dubai. He also beat Novak last fall in Shanghai. If the court plays fast and the ball bounces low, does recent form favor Federer?
Gut Feeling vs. My Head
My head says Federer is nearly 34, Nole is #1 in the world, and Nole has won their 2 most recent meetings. My gut says Roger is incredibly loose and ready to play a great match. I felt in a similar manner about Federer’s match versus Murray. Roger is a young 34 based upon his movement, the way he has traveled, and the way he has scheduled. I think my gut gets the nod in this prediction as it did versus Murray.
My Prediction: Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6, 2-6, 7-5
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) July 10, 2015