For all their time on the world’s biggest tennis stage — Roger Federer in 24 Grand Slam finals and Novak Djokovic in 13 — two of the sport’s “Big 4” have met in only one major final: Federer won in straight sets at the 2007 U.S. Open.
They’ll renew their rivalry in a championship match at Wimbledon today and equal a Grand Slam record. It’s the 12th time they’ve met in any round of a major, equaling Djokovic’s duel with Rafael Nadal in majors.
“We know each other’s games,” Djokovic said. “Most of the matches we’ve played against each other went the distance, so I’m going to be physically ready and fit. The key against him is trying to not allow him to dictate too much because he likes to be very aggressive, he likes to come to the net.”
Federer leads Djokovic 6-5 in Grand Slam tournaments, including a win the only time they’ve met at Wimbledon — Federer prevailing in four sets in the 2012 semifinals, the only time they’ve met on grass.
The Swiss star holds an 18-16 edge in career matches, although Djokovic has won three of five matches they’ve played since 2013, including this year on clay at Monte Carlo.
“We both like to take charge, especially on quicker courts,” Federer said. “He has a wonderful way of either re-directing or taking the ball early, taking pace from the opponent, even generating some of his own. There’s not really a safe place you can play into. Novak can hurt you down the line or cross-court on both sides.”
Federer is making his first appearance in a Grand Slam final since he won here in 2012, and has done it emphatically — dropping just one set in six matches.
A victory by Djokovic will return him to the No. 1 ranking for the first time since September of last year, taking over from Nadal. Djokovic first rose to No. 1 when he won his only Wimbledon title in 2011, although he was already guaranteed of securing the top ranking even before beating Nadal in the final.